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Crime Censorship The Almighty Buck The Internet

Currency Exchange Website Accused of Cyber Terrorism By Venezuelan Government (arstechnica.com) 104

braindrainbahrain writes: A U.S.-based website that covers the unofficial exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Bolivar, the Venezuelan currency, has been accused of cyber terrorism in a civil complaint. Venezuela, suffering from ever increasing inflation, maintains very tight controls on currency exchange, and accuses the website operators of racketeering and conspiracy. In an earlier speech, Venezuelan President Nicola Maduro stated he would ask the President of the United States to hunt down the operators of the DT Site and extradite them to Venezuela to be tried as criminals.
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Currency Exchange Website Accused of Cyber Terrorism By Venezuelan Government

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  • Not about the law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @09:24AM (#51158005) Journal

    The coverage I've seen of this today has emphasised that the Venezuelan Government's filing has essentially no chance whatsoever of success. That's undoubtedly true, but I suspect it misses the point.

    This is unlikely to be about the law, or even about an attempt to stifle the website in question. Rather, it's likely to be gesture politics aimed at a domestic audience. Maduro, like Chavez before him, keeps his political base motivated by constructing elaborate theories to show that almost the entire world (and particularly the US) is conspiring against them. The sense of victimhood and isolation this creates is a useful political tool.

    When this filing is rejected (likely at the first hurdle) it becomes another piece of "evidence" that the US is seeking to destroy Venezuela.

    • by tiberus ( 258517 )
      The court documents reads more like the rant of a conspiracy theorist than a structured legal argument. I didn't see even on use of "Whereas".
    • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @09:54AM (#51158115)

      Why doesn't he just point out all the great things that socialism has done for the people? It should be easy to find an audience. These people waiting in line for food [wsj.com] would have to listen.

      • Don't believe anything you read about Venezuela. There is food, I bet you could more easily find hungry people in Greece than in Venezuela, nowadays. I suppose it's true that there are sporadic shortages of all kinds of things (I have not suffered from any but that doesn't mean much, I arrived recently), but I think mostly what happens is that the lines are for buying at discount prices. People are really poor.
    • It is unlikely the domestic audience will listen much as they prefer the illegal exchange rate. Official exchange rates are to allow the government to keep the vast bulk of hard western cash value, trading it for very few units of worthless domestic paper.

      "The People" down there know this and realize what a scam it is and what a disadvantage they are at.

      Speaking of which, are all our H1b buddies from India required to convert all their dollars back to rupees on return at horrible official exchange rates?

      • It is unlikely the domestic audience will listen much as they prefer the illegal exchange rate

        Most of the domestic audience doesn't have dollars to exchange, legally or illegally (if they are trying to buy dollars, they prefer the legal exchange rate, but have trouble getting it).
        Just like most Americans don't have a steady stream of income in a foreign currency, that they're trying to change to dollars. The exchange rate mostly is noticed by tourists and importers (and exporters).

        Of course, the people still feel it when they try to pay for imported goods.

      • Speaking of which, are all our H1b buddies from India required to convert all their dollars back to rupees on return at horrible official exchange rates? Another trick in this scam is to forbid keeping the dollars.

        What is the official rupee:dollar exchange rate? What is the unofficial rate?

        From what I can see, there's no significant difference between the two. Which would suggest that you don't think about things very carefully, and that colours the whole of the rest of your post.

        (I get 1 rupee = 0.015$ f

    • The sense of victimhood and isolation this creates is a useful political tool.

      Well yeah, it's an old song and dance written in the "How to be an effective dictator" book used the world over. Please see N. Korea as an example.

    • Maduro, like Chavez before him, keeps his political base motivated by constructing elaborate theories to show that almost the entire world (and particularly the US) is conspiring against them. The sense of victimhood and isolation this creates is a useful political tool.

      Does that remind anyone of particular politicians here in the US?

    • Meanwhile, Argentina rejects Chavismo (or Peronismo, or Morales-ismo) and their economy improves. Eventually people are going to realize that price controls are really not an effective tool, as tempting as it may be.
      • Argentina's economy is as flaky [cnbc.com] as anybody's.

        And as far as Venezuela's victimhood, the American 'big stick' policy and dollar diplomacy over the years has justified the feeling a bit.

        • That article you linked to is retarded. The reality is, prices of imported goods will go down (relatively speaking), because it will be easier to import and export. It's ridiculous to pay $5USD for a notebook in Argentina, just because it was made in China.

          Also, it's good for tourists, too, because trading dollars on the black market was a huge pain, and you had to worry about counterfeit bills. Now you can get the black market rate, but legally from an ATM machine.
          • Yeah they had some stuff backwards. The point is that Argentina just relaxed currency controls and the value plummeted. The locals are already feeling the inflation. And the devaluation will make the price of imported goods go up, not down. Exports will be cheaper at the other end though. And yes, tourists get more bang for the buck. The problem is not whether they are socialist or not. The economies of any corrupt regime always suck. The difference between Argentina and Venezuela is a matter of degree, not

            • The point is that Argentina just relaxed currency controls and the value plummeted. The locals are already feeling the inflation

              You would think so, but the relaxation was merely official recognition of the facts. (Some legislatures demand that pi is 3, Argentina demanded that a dollar be worth 10 pesos). The problem before being that it was impossible to buy a dollar for 10 pesos, no one would give it to you (unless you were very very good friends with the president or something).

              In short, people were already paying 15 pesos to the dollar, and now that it's official, it looks like they can get it for 13 to the dollar, which is act

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @09:29AM (#51158027)
    This is from a man who thinks capitalism is terrorism.
    • And? Is he right?
      • A particular capitalist may be considered a terrorist, but not the system.
      • Terrorism is whatever the PTB (tm) say it is.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        No. People who say "[XYZ] is terrorism" are always wrong. If they were right they wouldn't have to exaggerate.

        • Do you mean terrorism doesn't exist

          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            No one makes a point of saying "suicide bombing is terrorism" because it's obvious. Terrorist acts are terrorism. XYZ other bullshit (capitalism, Santa Claus, eating meat, not bowing to statues of political leaders, whatever else some fool says) is not terrorism. People who say "[XYZ] is terrorism" are wrong. If they weren't wrong, they wouldn't need silly exaggerations.

            • "No one makes a point of saying "suicide bombing is terrorism""

              Of course they do. In other words your heuristic "people who say ..." is not useful

  • Nicolas Maduro is insanely angry that his political party got heaved out of office in the recent elections, and he's going to be heaved out too, as soon as it's legally possible. Venezuela's shitty governance isn't quite fixed yet, but it's well on the way... and Maduro's already begun his transformation into a salt golem.

    • It's legally possible when he says it's legally possible. I'm sorry, but if past history teaches us anything, I'm of the opinion that nothing short of an armed uprising (revolution) will curb his sorry ass. But hey, that's not my problem, that's up the people of Venezuela.

      • Unfortunately for him, Maduro doesn't have control of the military. In fact, they're the ones that forced him to abide by the results of the election.

        • [...]Maduro doesn't have control of the military. [...]

          Source? (btw, I don't believe any military uprising would be necessary to oust Chavez. If he loses the presidential election, he will leave.)

          • by alantus ( 882150 )

            [...]Maduro doesn't have control of the military. [...]

            Source?
            (btw, I don't believe any military uprising would be necessary to oust Chavez. If he loses the presidential election, he will leave.)

            Well, yes, ever since he died from cancer, he doesn't care so much about staying in office...

            • by alantus ( 882150 )

              Source?
              (btw, I don't believe any military uprising would be necessary to oust Chavez. If he loses the presidential election, he will leave.)

              Well, yes, ever since he died from cancer, he doesn't care so much about staying in office...

              Oh I just realized that you were talking about Maduro, not Chavez.

              It is an understandable mistake, since they often speak through birds [youtube.com].

            • Lol, sorry for the mistake. So, I assume you have no source then? You know, whatever you think of the Venezuelan government, it's undeniable that the "western" medias are heavily biased against it. So when you read this kind of insinuations without proof, you can just discard it, it's worth nothing. Even when there are proofs, you should doubt them, actually.
  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Monday December 21, 2015 @02:12PM (#51159991)

    While I understand the charges are likely based on political paranoia within Venezuela's government and a desire to find a scapegoat for their financial issues, how could a website that merely reports an exchange rate (the site in question appears to be a news site and not an actual currency exchange) be guilty of racketeering? If the exchange rate was wrong, no one would use them as a reliable source of information in the first place. This would be like trying to charge the New York Times with securities fraud because they report stock prices.

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