The socialist rule has cause Venezuela to be in a crippling state today.
Citizens are waiting all day for a chance to get a couple of bags of flour and butter. Businesses have been forced to turn to smuggling networks to provide their employees toilet paper. Inflation rates are outrageous. PDVSA, the state-owned oil and gas company has just missed a large bond payment, while it has a ton of reserves.
Even though Gustavo Díaz, a Home Depot employee, is all the way in central Alabama, he is waging war on the Venezuelan government.
“He is president of one of Venezuela’s most popular and insurgent websites, DolarToday.com, which provides a benchmark exchange rate used by his compatriots to buy and sell black-market dollars. That allows them to bypass some of the world’s most rigid currency controls,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
Socialist President Nicolás Maduro is not pleased with Díaz’ DolarToday.com and has condemned him for leading an “economic war” on his government. He is on a mission to imprison Díaz and his two partners. Maduro has played dirty by enlisting hackers to attack Díaz’ website.
“DolarToday is the Empire’s strategy to push down the currency and overthrow Maduro,” said Vice President Aristóbulo Istúriz blaming the U.S. “DolarToday is the enemy of the people.”
This isn’t Díaz first time opposing the Venezuelan government.
“Mr. Díaz is a U.S.-trained retired colonel, and he indeed tried to overthrow Mr. Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, by participating in a short-lived coup in 2002. Mr. Díaz, who had been deputy security chief to the businessman who briefly took power in the ill-fated overthrow, said his conspiring days are over,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
He continues the fight while living in the U.S., but is more focused on battling it out for the country’s economic freedom.
“It’s ironic that with DolarToday in Alabama, I do more damage to the government than I did as a military man in Venezuela,” said Díaz,
This isn’t a profitable business for him either, although it could be.
“Although about $15 million changes hands daily on the Venezuelan black market, Mr. Díaz said he makes little from the Delaware-registered website, which is free to access. The company’s three founding partners—Mr. Díaz, a real-estate agent in Miami and a supermarket technology technician in Seattle—recoup $4,500 a month from selling advertising and the browsing data of about 800,000 unique daily visitors to Google,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
Instead, it’s a passionate movement, not a career for Díaz.
Before DolarToday was a website, it started on Twitter. It would post the black-market exchange rate for Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar. The Twitter account grow to 2 million following and then transitioned to a website.
The site reports that it’s rate of roughly 2 ,000 bolivars per greenback is a 44% fall since October.
So how does the website report these numbers when the government hasn’t released any official economic data in the last two years?
“The website now uses a scanning program to add up dollar buy-and-sell requests posted by Venezuelans on social-media sites. The average rate is then checked against the price offered by big underground exchange houses in Venezuela that serve multinational corporations,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
Author’s note: Venezuela is the prime example for why socialism is bound to fail. Companies PDVSA should not be close to a debt default. It should be highly profitable and if it was in any other country without a socialist rule, it would be.
Hopefully, Díaz is able to continue the fight against this revolutionary government that is just letting their citizens suffer.