A leaked memo from the Maduro regime’s banking regulator outlines an effort to restrict access to online banking platforms for Venezuelans living abroad. The memo, which comes from the Superintendencia de las Instituciones del Sector Bancario (SUDEBAN), outlines a series of steps targeting Venezuelans living abroad who wish to withdraw, move or otherwise access their money in Venezuelan banks.
The memo is dated August 27 2018, and appears to have been sent from SUDEBAN to all of the country’s financial institutions. Citing a need to “protect uses from possible fraud”, the memo asks the nation’s banks to inform their clients of the following:
- Clients must give notice to their bank whenever they plan to leave the country if they want to access online banking from abroad. Clients must tell their bank where they are going, and for how long. The bank must also be notified of any changes to the clients’ travel plans.
- If a client does not notify their bank that they are going on a trip and they attempt to access their account online, the bank must block the attempt. Banks will make this determination based on the location of the IP address attempting to access the account online.
The veracity of the memo was confirmed through SUDEBAN’s official Twitter account, which posted a message this afternoon saying that failure to abide by the guidelines in the document would result in “legal action”.
The same memo calls on every bank in the country to provide a weekly update to the National Financial Intelligence Unit (UNIF) with the names of all clients who have given notice of a trip, as well as “all transactions that take place with a foreign IP [address]”.
It is not clear if the measures outlined in the memo apply retroactively to Venezuelans who are currently out of the country. According to the United Nations, approximately 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, a figure that amounts to approximately 7% of the population.
SUDEBAN Cracks Down on Informal Remittances
The leak of the SUDEBAN memo comes just one day before the regulator issued a statement stressing that all remittances sent to Venezuela must pass through regime-sanctioned exchanges.
Below, the SUDEBAN statement:
SUDEBAN reiterates that remittances from abroad must be made via authorized exchanges, and not via transfers between individuals or corporations who send money from abroad through electronic banking without [exchanging] at the corresponding rate.
At issue is the fact that regime-sanctioned exchanges operates on the DICOM rate, which is heavily regulated by Caracas.
The current DICOM rate is Bs.S. 1.14/USD, which means that a person receiving $100 USD in remittances would get Bs.S. 114. However, that same $100 USD would equal Bs.S. 8618 at the current black market rate, were it sent into the country as an informal remittance.
SUDEBAN’s tightening grip on financial transactions involving Venezuelans living abroad comes as the Maduro regime enters the second week of a far-reaching economic reform package that included the launching of a new currency, the erasure of five zeroes from the Bolivar, and an increase in the price of gas.
Peru Declares Health Emergency in Northern Border Region
The government of Peru declared a health emergency today in two northern provinces as thousands of Venezuelans continue to pour into the country.
Citing “imminent danger” to health in the regions given the scope of migrant entries into the country, the measure is set to last 60 days.
Health authorities in Peru have previously expressed concerns about the spread of diseases such as measles and malaria from the migrants, many of whom lacked access to basic medicine and health care in their homeland.
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