Home Depot Orange is the New Black Market

This may be the single craziest thing I’ve read about Venezuela all year…

Public Enemy No. 1 of Venezuela’s revolutionary government is Gustavo Díaz, a Home Depot Inc. employee in central Alabama.

On his lunch breaks from the hardware section, Mr. Díaz, 60 years old, does more than anyone else to set the price of everything from rice to aspirin to cars in his native Venezuela, influencing the inflation rate and swaying millions of dollars of daily currency transactions.

How? He is president of one of Venezuela’s most popular and insurgent websites, DolarToday.com, which provides a benchmark exchange rate used by his compatriots to buy and sell black-market dollars. That allows them to bypass some of the world’s most rigid currency controls.

[…]

The alleged mastermind of the plot likes to sport a red University of Alabama baseball cap and answers questions at his day job from do-it-yourselfers on what kinds of screws they should use to hang shelves.

[…]

He sneaks to the bathroom during shifts at Home Depot to check his BlackBerry for gossip about the Venezuelan government sent to him by old friends in the military and the expat media, which always promises an imminent downfall for Mr. Maduro.

“To me, it’s still a passionate daily fight against totalitarianism,” said Mr. Díaz.

Señores, if Anatoly doesn’t win some sort of award for reporting on this delirium, there is no justice left in the world…

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