In an unprecedented step, the Venezuelan government has recently announced its refusal to accept bolivars in payment for passport applications.
According to Reuters, the government announced it will only accept Petro in paying for passport applications, to cut down on the number of citizens seeking migration to other destinations, due to the poor living conditions in the country.
Observers interpret the step as coming within the government’s endeavour to limit the exodus from the country.
The act comes in parallel with the new migration policy the government recently started, to confront the economic crisis the country faces today.
Media sources described vice president Delcy Rodriguez as being “not forthcoming on why these changes were made”, reading that it could be assumed that the government is having concerns with regard to a “mass exodus of 5,000 people leaving the country daily”, as Filippo Grandi- chief of UN refugee agency (UNHCR), estimated.
“The migration police are born to tend to the 72 [ports of entry] that exist at borders, ports and airports,” Rodriguez stated in a Venezuelan state television broadcast.
Trafficking Market Looms in the Horizon
It is reported that the requirement to buy passports with Petro kills the last glimmer of hope citizens had to escape the turmoil they find themselves in, to face life-threatening shortages, under high inflation conditions.
“The price of a new passport will be 2 Petros and [the price] of an extension will be 1 Petro,” Rodriguez said.
The new tariff will come into effect by the start of the next month, with no indication on how citizens will manage acquiring the cryptocurrency or handling its current market price.
Analysts expect the decision to trigger creating a black market for trafficking people outside the border illegally, as Venezuela continues to crack down on its flight of human capital.