El Salvador’s Finance Minister, Alejandro Zelaya, has announced that the country will postpone the launch of its planned billion-dollar Bitcoin (BTC) bond due to price volatility and unpredictable market conditions caused by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The announcement comes as Amnesty International has accused the Salvadoran government of “flagrant abuses of human rights and criminalizing those in poverty.”
In a Wednesday interview with the local news program “Frente a Frente” (Face-to-Face), When asked if the situation with the $1 billion Bitcoin bond offering from “a few months ago” had altered, Zelaya said that it had not.
“No, not yet. The [Bitcoin] price continues to be disturbed by the situation in Ukraine. The variances are constant in the short term but it always tends to gain in value in the long term. There is a future and an economic innovation [in Bitcoin] on which we must stake our claim.”Zelaya
El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, first unveiled the bond plan in November of 2021. Half of the $1 billion planned would be used to build a Bitcoin City near a volcano, with the hope that geothermal energy will be used to power it.
Bitcoin miners could benefit from it. The remaining half of the assets will be invested in Bitcoin.
The $1 billion bond was supposed to go on sale in mid-March 2022, but Zelaya postponed it due to price volatility in a March interview, giving a June debut date and a timeline that extends until September 2022.
The country’s $800 million bond is due in January 2023. El Salvador’s government has been buying Bitcoin since September 2021, with Bukele stating on May 9 that the Government had bought another 500 BTC. El Salvador is thought to have lost tens of millions of dollars.
Extending Bitcoin Bond Launch Amidst Human Rights Crisis.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International, a human rights organization, accused El Salvador’s government of “gross human rights breaches” such as arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment, and torture of detainees.
President Bukele proclaimed a state of emergency (SOE) on March 27 in response to an increase in homicides, which the administration blamed on gangs and organized crime. Since then, it has been extended twice more.
The State Of Emergency, according to the human rights group, modified legislation and legal procedures that jeopardize the right to a fair trial, the assumption of innocence, effective judicial redress, and access to an impartial judge.
More than 35,000 people have been arrested in less than three months as a result of the crackdown, putting 1.7 percent of the country’s population over the age of 18 in detention, resulting in prison overcrowding of more than 250 percent of capacity.
Irrespective, many El Salvadorians support Bukele’s harsh tactics, as seen by polls showing his popularity. There is a near 87 percent approval rating, according to a poll reported by local media on Wednesday.
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