Gabriel Jimenez is working with the government in a move he sees as helpful to Venezuela’s current problems. Investors have already committed to buy more than $5 billion worth of Petro cryptocurrency. U.S. is fearing that other countries facing sanctions could follow Venezuela route.
One of the persons behind the Social Us, a company that is promoting newly launched Venezuela cryptocurrency Petro, was once a U.S. congressional intern. He used to organize protests and sanctions against the administration he is now helping circumvent the same sanctions.
He worked as an intern in Washington for Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, one of Maduro’s fiercest critics. Working against the government, he launched the Trip for Freedom that ferried thousands of Venezuelan exiles traveled by bus to Washington to push Obama administration to slap sanctions against Maduro’s government. He addressed supporters at the Capitol where photos of Venezuelan students allegedly tortured by security forces were also carried.
Now Maduro has a good friend. Gabriel Jimenez, 27, was recently among two Russian businessmen who signed a contract for the new crypto project, alongside Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.
He sees his work as helping Venezuelans who are struggling to feed themselves amid four-digit inflation. He said the work on Petro begun in 2015 after returning to Venezuela where he teamed with other tech entrepreneurs to design a digital currency. They then looked for ways of partnering with the government.
Jimenez said while in the Caracas office of The Social Us,
“This is about providing oxygen to people, not a government,”
With Petro having picked up and investors committing to buy $5 billion worth of the cryptocurrency, U.S. is fearing that other countries facing U.S. sanctions such as Iran and Russia could emulate Venezuela’s example. This could be equivalent to more than half of Venezuela’s dollar reserves. The government is struggling to repay billions in defaulted bonds and eradicate widespread shortage.
Jimenez is a lawyer by training. He also worked with a Dominican Republic-based bank where his father was a top manager. The bank collapsed in 2014 and according to ABC News, his father was charged. Alongside others, for defrauding depositors of $30 million.
Jimenez travelled to Harvard and George Mason Universities in U.S. for English and summer graduate classes after college. He started The Social Us company in 2013 in Florida as a webpage and app developer.
While applying for internship in Washington for Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He claimed that he was out to gain knowledge on how to support freedom and democracy.
Ros-Lehtinen said it appears he is using the knowledge gained there to destroy and collapse Venezuela’s democratic institutions. He said those working with the Maduro regime should expect full consequences for “turning against their people.”