Econintech is a libertarian think tank in Venezuela, one of the only of its kind. They were the first organization to promote Bitcoin as a means of helping combat hyperinflation and advocate for free markets and sound banking. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rafael Acevedo and Luis Cirocco, the founders of Econintech, alongside 71 Republic’s Vice President of Operations, Indri Schaelicke, at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. We discussed the roles of Bitcoin and gun control in the Venezuelan crisis, what Americans can do to help, and whether or not there is any glimmer of hope for the socialist country. A transcript (lightly edited for clarity) and audio file of the interview are both below.
Two weeks ago, Venezuelan student Rufo Chacon’s life permanently changed for the worse. For the offense of peaceful protest, cops fired 52 rubber bullets in his face, leaving him permanently blind. Now, the 16-year-old-boy faces a life of challenges as he tries to adapt to his new life as a blind man in Venezuela. The boy was part of a protest demanding basic goods and cooking gas, which are in shortages. The Venezuelan movement for better conditions soon turned into a bloodbath when police officers started firing rubber bullets. Several other people were also injured, including Chacon’s sister.
On the afternoon of July 1st, Rufo Chacon, a 16-year-old Venezuelan boy, was participating in a protest against Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship. He ended up blind after policemen fired rubber bullets that hit both his eyes. Rufo Chacon and his mother, Adriana Parada, were part of a movement protesting against the shortages of basic goods such as cooking gas and food in the state of Tachira.
In Venezuela, self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó is failing to ignite a military revolution. As a result, 25 Venezuelan soldiers who side with him fled. They now seek asylum in the Brazilian Embassy in Caracas. Knowing that their lives are at risk for defecting, they had few options. After all, betraying Maduro can carry a life sentence.
Similar to former President Obama’s uncertainty to intervene in Libya, President Trump is hesitant to commit U.S. troops to Venezuela. This country, which has faced numerous economic crises, is now mired in a political conflict between a US-backed resistance and the government. There are calls for humanitarian actions to prevent the Venezuelan government from harming its people. Others cite the Monroe doctrine to push Russian and Chinese influence outside of Latin America. But the use of military action creates many unknown scenarios, making it challenging to predict what the outcome might be. It is better to use caution than take the risk.