CARACAS, Venezuela – President Nicolas Maduro's cash-strapped government unveiled a new currency market Monday that allows Venezuelans to buy and sell dollars legally for the first time since 2010.
Opposition leader Gov. Henrique Capriles said the so-called Sicad 2 exchange system is akin to a devaluation and will eat away at the savings of poor families.
The government is counting on the new exchange mechanism to alleviate pressure on a black market Venezuelans turn to when they can't purchase hard currency from the government at the official 6.3 bolivars per dollar rate.
Maduro's government has been increasingly safeguarding its shrinking supply of dollars as oil production declines and deficit spending remains high. That's led it to fall behind on payments to foreign airlines and carmakers, exacerbating a shortage of imported goods.