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60-year-old Home Depot worker in Alabama operates Venezuelan government's most hated website Printer friendly page Print This
By Leada Gore,
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016

During work hours, 60-year-old Gustavo Diaz is an employee at Home Depot in Hoover, Alabama. In his free time however, Diaz has become the worst nightmare of the Venezuelan government.

A retired Venezuelan army colonel involved in the 2002 coup against then-president Hugo Chavez, Diaz operates, which tracks daily exchange rates between the U.S. and the South American country, along with unflattering news about the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Diaz's efforts - described as an "economic war by Venezuelan officials - were detailed in an extensive profile last weekend in the Wall Street Journal.

Diaz, now a U.S. citizen after seeking asylum in 2005, uses his site to set benchmark exchange rates to facilitate buying and selling black market dollars, bypassing the country's stringent currency controls. The country is in the midst of a severe economic crisis – inflation has topped 1,000 percent and food, medicine and necessities are in short supply – and DolarToday makes it easier for get around government controls.

That process leads to destabilization and what Diaz and backers hope will be the end of Maduro's government.

DolarToday been the target of two lawsuits filed by Maduro's socialist government, which has threatened to jail Diaz and his partners, two Venezuelan expatriates living in the U.S., if they return to the country.

Diaz is undeterred, however.

"It's ironic that with DolarToday in Alabama, I do more damage to the government than I did as a military man in Venezuela," Diaz said.

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