Kellogg Shuts Down Cereal Plant in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro waves to his supporters during a rally in Caracas Venezuela on Jan. 23 2018

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro waves to his supporters during a rally in Caracas Venezuela on Jan. 23 2018. Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Maduro accused Kellogg of trying to sabotage his chances of getting re-elected in Sunday's presidential vote. Known as Evrofinance Mosnarbank, it is the only worldwide bank defying the USA campaign to prevent the Petro from gaining any sort of traction.

Venezuela's oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), has been surviving thanks to a little-known Russian bank, Evrofinance Mosnarbank, which has recently emerged as the only worldwide financial institution willing to defy the US' sanctions against the South American nation. There's a reason all the news out of Venezuela in recent years has been grim.

The ensuing story finds Oliver delving into the South American country's dire economic situation, focusing in particular on the leadership under which said crisis-caused in large part by Venezuela's economic dependence on oil, prices of which fell precipitously beginning in 2014-has come about. Whether or not doing so is still possible is a bit unclear, as the bank will face a lot of scrutiny over its connection with the Petro.

Back in March, Trump banned U.S. citizens and residents from buying the oil-backed cryptocurrency, a move that Venezuela claims to have been "free publicity" that doubled the number of interested investors.

It also appears the Russian bank has allowed customers to buy the Petro with relative ease. Even offshore trading platforms like Bitfinex are refusing to deal in the petro for fear of violating sanctions.

"An overwhelming majority of ICOs don't deliver on what they promise because their promoters are outright scammers or fall short on technical expertise", said Alejandro Machado, a Venezuelan-born computer scientist who consults for crypto startups.

Kellogg has been producing cereal in Venezuela since 1961 and, according to The Associated Press, "the market had at one point been its biggest in Latin America after Mexico, although in 2016 it deconsolidated its Venezuela business from the company's overall earnings results". Rangel noted that the presidential candidates Henri Falcon, Javier Bertucci and Reinaldo Quijada resisted direct pressure from the United States to resign, with the goal of subtracting competitors from the candidate and president, Nicolas Maduro, 'which would facilitate the argument about the fraudulent nature of the elections, ' he argued. Nevertheless, he dismissed the idea that it could be used to fund criminals. "This is just an attempt to stop crypto from expanding".

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