Chavismo’s New Campaign to Bring the Bolivar Back to Life

The Maduro regime is using social media to promote the idea that a new tax on dollar transactions will have no impact on the majority of the population

Last week, a new law was passed to tax the use of dollars, other currencies, and cryptocurrencies in the domestic banking system for the first time. Experts claim that the Tax on Large Financial Transactions will deeply affect those who have taken refuge in dollars to fight the effect of hyperinflation and other distortions in the economy. According to the text approved by the deputies of the National Assembly (AN), still awaiting publication in the Official Gazette, paying with foreign currency will be levied between 3% and 20%.

“This law will allow the State to receive the dollars pocketed by the rich and merchants,” said Jorge Rodríguez during the debate on the regulations. Economists and tax specialists, on the contrary, point out that the tax is regressive and will have an inflationary impact and encourage evasion and greater informality in payments at the same time.

The regime’s favorite approach tries to promote our long-dead bolivar and the idea that only millionaires use dollars. Something far more interesting happened on social media, though: in the face of uncertainty, lack of official information and explanations, economy specialists have used their platform to explain the issue, give financial advice and shed light on the matter. As usual, civil society saves the day. 

Propaganda: Our Economy Will Grow Stronger than Ever

  • #YoUsoElBolívar was promoted by the Ministry of Information (MIPPCI) and it references the “strengthening of the people’s purchasing power” and the use of the digital bolivar to recover the economy and protect the people: “No more criminal dollars!”
    • It reached around 18,500 tweets, at least 60.79% of them made by possible automated accounts.
  • #ElBolívarEsNuestraMoneda was also positioned by MIPPCI, and it references the “defense of the stability of the homeland” with images of the monetary cone. The ministry positioned this same message at least six times with the tag of the day, in addition to using it in all its daily content.
    • It generated approximately 120,000 tweets, at least 54.27% of them made by possible automated accounts.

The Economy Is the Second Reason for Outrage 

  • As usual, protests led the conversation on social media this week. 
  • Economic demands were the second main reason for Twitter protests in 2021, when civil society positioned 351 protest trends with around 1,971,413 tweets, 76 of which were about the economy with around 392,462 messages. 
  • These demands are mainly focused on fair wages and pensions; teachers, university professors, and retirees from state-owned telecom CANTV promoted this protest the most.
  • Between January 1st and February 9th, 2022, we registered two trends of protest for economic reasons, demanding salary improvements that have accumulated around 49,047 tweets. On average, 94.2% of these messages have been made by real users.