USD accounts in Venezuelan banks: a slow onset
The main Venezuelan private banks, like Banesco, Provincial, and Mercantil, inform the interested public that the system was not properly operative yet, whereas state-run banks, like Venezuela and Bicentenario, explain to their clients that it was possible to open accounts in foreign currency under the same requirements set to open accounts in local currency (Venezuelan bolivar).
Private banks are waiting for the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) to publish the manuals and regulations concerning he use of the bank accounts and the accounting standards of the Superintendence of Banks, and also the measures to avoid money laundering.
Regulations for cash deposits, the interest rate for fixed-term deposits, and the methods to post assets and liabilities are still pending.
Financial agencies reported that few people in Venezuela have required information on the bank accounts in US dollars.
To make deposits in the accounts in foreign currency in Venezuela, US dollars can be bought via the Venezuelan Transaction System for Foreign Currency Denominated Securities (Sitme) and the issuance of bonds by state-run oil company Pdvsa or the Ministry of Finance. Most of the people who take part in that market already have a bank account abroad, so there is no need to open an account in foreign currency in Venezuela.
Once cleared all the doubts, US dollars bought through Sitme, a system whereby US dollars are bought through bonds at the exchange rate of VEB 5.30 per US dollar, can be deposited in bank accounts in foreign currency opened in Venezuela.
There is a strict foreign exchange control in Venezuela. Only USD 5,000 a year can be bought via Sitme to cover the cost of international travels, studies abroad, and required goods for professional services. Moreover, up to USD 6,000 a year are allowed for family remittances and USD 10,000 a year to cover health recovery costs, scientific researches, sports, and urgent cases.
Translated by Andreína Trujillo
About 210,000 Cubans have been to Venezuela until 2012, as part of an alliance established by Hugo Chávez. A number of agreements have enabled Cubans to take part in a wide range of government plans and social welfare, from health to national intelligence to security.