Maduro was born in Caracas on November 23, 1962. During adolescence, he was a member of a band called "Enigma." At a young age, he began working as a truck driver for Metro de Caracas. He would later become a member of the board of directors for this company, as well as a union leader. He is the founder of the Caracas Metro Syndicate (SITRAMECA). He was elected president of Venezuela in 2013.
Maduro is considered an unpopular, authoritarian leader, despite winning the popular vote in the 2013 Venezuela elections. Under Maduro, Venezuela saw massive amounts of inflation, poverty, and other severe economic challenges. Millions of people fled the country seeking food, medical treatment, and asylum. In January 2019 Juan Guaidó, president of Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself interim president. Maduro accused the U.S. and others of overthrowing him and refused to step down. In February, trucks full of food and medicine arrived in the Venezuelan border to provide relief to the country's citizens, but Maduro ordered his military to block access to the country, saying that Venezuela has "never been, nor are we, a country of beggars."
In 2018, Maduro announced that Venezuela was developing a new cryptocurrency to save the country from hyperinflation. Maduro said that the cryptocurrency, called Petro, would be a stablecoin backed by barrels of oil, one of Venezuela's biggest exports. He said this would be valued equally and interchangeable with the "sovereign Bolivar," the other national currency of Venezuela.
In February 2019, Mexican crypto payment platform AirTM livestreamed an event with Cryptograffiti, a reclusive crypto-focused artist, as part of their #AirdropVenezuela fundraiser, which was meant to benefit refugees of the hyperinflation crisis that rose under Maduro. Cryptograffiti allegedly created a large mural of Maduro painted on 1,000 paper bolivars in Cucuta, Colombia, about 500 yards from the Simon Bolivar Bridge. For every donation made during the livestream, a Venezuelan citizen at the event physically removed a bolivar from the mural. Two pieces of the mural were saved from the event: one to be auctioned off, the other to be given to a donor drawn at random. Half the funds raised would be given to the 100,000+ Venezuelan refugees, while the other half would be contribute towards rebuilding facilities at Fundación Renacer, a non-profit organization that provides daycare services to displaced families from the Venezuelan crisis.
On March 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Maduro, along with Venezuela’s crypto superintendent, Joselit Ramirez Camacho, and 13 other high-ranking Venezuelan officials with drug trafficking. The statement alleged that Maduro and his officials hid illicit transactions using cryptocurrency, though the statement did not specify which one.
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