Maduro’s cryptocurrency ‘genius’ once pushed US sanctions

CARACAS, Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A chief strategist of Venezuela’s government-backed cryptocurrency is a former U.S. congressional intern, and he once organized protests against the same socialist administration he’s now helping to circumvent U.S. financial sanctions.

Gabriel Jimenez was catapulted to something of tech stardom in Venezuela last month when he stood alongside President Nicolas Maduro on national TV signing a contract to position the fledgling currency among international investors.

Maduro described his company as “young Venezuelan geniuses.”

Yet just a few years ago Jimenez was in the U.S. campaigning for financial sanctions against Maduro’s government and working as an intern for Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a strong critic of Maduro.

Now his former boss thinks he or anyone else behind the petro should be considered for sanctions too.

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