As Currency Falls, Venezuela Wages War on ... Bit.ly
Government turns to censorship to stop flight to dollar
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 5, 2013 9:07 AM CST
In this February file photo, a protester in Caracas holds up a fake Venezuelan banknote that reads, "This is the revolution. Poor Bolivar," with the value of 100 crossed out and 54 written next to it.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

(Newser) – The bolivar is in freefall. Panicked Venezuelans are rushing to buy dollars before their savings become worthless, which is only exacerbating the trend. Faced with this crisis, Nicolas Maduro's government has stepped up … and blocked Bit.ly? The popular link-shortening service has become collateral damage in the government's effort to block access to sites that track the exchange rate—where citizens would be able to see that the going black market rate for a dollar is 10 times the government's official 6.3-to-1, the AP reports.

Bit.ly's shortened links provided a way around the censorship, so the service was blocked without warning a few weeks ago. Before that, it had been logging about 1.5 million clicks a day from Venezuela. "It's like shutting down all the highways in the country because there was an accident on one street," complains one Caracas-based tech columnist. The state-run telecom Conatel has also asked Twitter to block any accounts that shared non-official currency rates, a request Twitter has so far ignored.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Box1Car
Dec 6, 2013 8:56 PM CST
The day U$D is removed from its present status as the world's reserve currency, it too will go into "Free Fall" as the Dollar bubble bursts, just as the housing bubble did U$D bubble is next to burst, sometime in 2014, so advise one to convert paper currency into real money- buy 90% Silver coins on ebay- going rate is $25 per$1 FaceValue coins
WLeoB
Dec 6, 2013 6:16 AM CST
1. If the Federal Reserve in America keeps printing worthless dollars to keep the prime rate synthetically low while we're running up a 20, 30, 40 or 50 trillion dollar deficit, what will the dollar be worth in the future? Nothing! 2. Yes, 5 years into socialism and we have millions of people: a) On food stamps, b) Working part time, c) Unemployed, and d) Going on medicaid. 3. So let's keep voting for those incumbents in our two "ruling parties" and reduce the time it is taking to get to America's ultimate demise. 4. People, the poster child that got to Harvard using affirmative action funds, became a neighborhood organizer and then crowned, as entitled, President of the USA was and is over his head. Why do you think his college records were sealed? Didn't he tell classmates or enroll saying he was born in Kenya? Peace
Scott603
Dec 5, 2013 3:54 PM CST
Blocking bit.ly will do nothing. The only country that is successful at keeping it's citizen from knowing about the outside world is North Korea, and they have no internet, no international calls, the smallest airport in the world, the death penalty for using an illegally imported Chinese cell phone, and you need a permission slip to go to the next town from you. I'm pretty sure Venezuela isn't about to do that!