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May 21, 2019

Venezuela to suspend foreign card operations by end of 2020

Venezuela’s banking sector regulator SUDEBAN and the Central Bank of Venezuela have decided to halt the use of Visa, Mastercard and Maestro operations by the end of next year and launch its own payment system.

Citing local reports, reported that the termination of debit cards will take effect starting 30 November 2019 while that of credit card will be completed by the end of 30 January next year.

In the wake of US sanctions against Venezuela, SUDEBAN instructed the country’s financial institutions to create a new payment system.

Since 2003, the Venezuelan government enforced control over Venezuela’s currency operations, thereby allegedly paving way for illegal currency operations. This led to the exchange rate exceeding the official exchange rate by several times.  The country liberalised dollar operations only in last August.

In the recent months, the US attempted to curb oil trade in Venezuela, to force President Nicolas Maduro out of office.

In January this year, US-backed opposition leader Guaido disputed Maduro’s re-election and declared himself as the interim president illegally.

Guaido was recognized by the United States and 54 countries. However, many other countries including China, Russia, Bolivia, Cuba and Turkey consider Maduro to be the constitutionally-elected legitimate president of Venezuela.

According to a recent study co-authored by Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, the sanctions enforced by US on Venezuela have caused at least 40,000 deaths since August 2017.

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