GLOBAL ECONOMY

Maduro Blocks Web Pages Carrying Unsanctioned Currency Quotes

  • Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro wears a farm worker's hat with the figure of a bird perched on the hat's crown as he speaks during a presidential election campaign rally.

    Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro wears a farm worker's hat with the figure of a bird perched on the hat's crown as he speaks during a presidential election campaign rally.  (AP2013)

  • BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 23:  (CHINA OUT) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros is interviewed by Chinatoday, Chinadaily and CCTV at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on September 23, 2013 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

    BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 23: (CHINA OUT) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros is interviewed by Chinatoday, Chinadaily and CCTV at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on September 23, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that his government blocked seven websites this weekend that provided quotations on the dollar and euro that don't correspond to the official rates fixed according to Caracas' state currency controls that have been in place for a decade.

Maduro said the blocking had been carried out by the Science and Technology Ministry and made the announcement during a national radio and television statement to discuss the government's offensive against currency speculation.

The accusations were directed against stores that sell products imported using currency provided by the state within the framework of the 2003 currency controls setting the official exchange rate at 6.30 bolivares to the dollar, although they use the black market quotations where the U.S. currency to sell for eight times that.

That, the president said, has resulted in inflation, which has risen 45.8 percent in the first 10 months of the year and by 54.3 percent since October 2012.

Maduro identified the blocked websites, which he claimed were created in the United States, as dollarparalelovenezuela.com, preciodolar.info, dolarparalelo.org, dolartoday.org, tucadivi.com, dolarparalelo.org and lechugaverde.biz.

If the owners of those websites were in Venezuela "they would be arrested," warned Maduro, and he included the matter in the "economic war" he says the opposition has launched on his administration in an alleged effort to topple it.

This is a war, he said, that "was declared on us from the north," an allusion to the United States, and he added that "the total collapse" of the Venezuelan economy and governability was planned for last month, a plan that is still in place because the opposition is not giving up the fight.

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