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The Chinese company ZTE, helped to manufacture identification cards for Venezuela, which can track, reward and punish users
The identification document is called 'Carnet de la Patria', and it is a system that is currently implemented as an identity document for Venezuelans.
What is the Nation's Card?
The Carnet de la Patria is a card that works as an identity document for Venezuela. This includes a unique and personalized QR code. It was announced by President Nicolás Maduro on December 18, 2016. By May of 2017 near 13 million Venezuelans had processed their ID card, as reported by AVN.
Leer en español: Carnet de la Patria: el nuevo tormento de los venezolanos
This document has a digital wallet, through which it is allowed to administer some incentives that the government gives to its population, for example, the purchase of gasoline at a subsidized price, according to the BBC.
In addition, the Fatherland Card accumulates information about the social programs to which people are linked. Likewise, this document allows people to vote.
Critics to the Carnet de la Patria
One of the main criticisms of this card is the possibility that it may be lent as a mechanism of coercion and control. This taking into account that it is the document with which it is voted.
According to Maduradas, during the elections of 2017 and 2018 in the country, beneficiaries of social plans and public employees were coerced into voting using the country's card. These elections were denounced as a violation of the exercise of free voting, as reported by the British media BBC. Likewise, the OAS reported that it knew cases in which patients were denied treatment for not having this card.
According to the Reuters website, the implementation of this card is part of a plan by the Venezuelan government to make more control of the population. According to the same portal, Venezuelans have had to use this card to buy food, receive medical attention or gasoline.
How is China involved in this?
The governments of China and Venezuela share a close relationship. During September, and as El Tiempo reported, Maduro went to Beijing on a commercial trip. With this trip, he obtained assistance through a $ 5 billion loan.
Although the Maduro's government has not recognized that this company was the direct participation of ZTE in the creation of the "Carnet de la Patria", in February 2017 he thanked the company for supporting them in strengthening its database.
Beijing has a rationing system through a social credit card. It is rumored that Maduro requested support from China not only to know the eating habits of its citizens but also their social, political and economic behavior. Beijing has already created its own social credit and analysis system.
According to Infobae, it is estimated that this system also classifies users according to a set of behaviors and the loyalty they show to the communist party. This is achieved through a point system, and those who receive low scores receive penalties.
This would be a problem, especially because of the policy of social exclusion that the Venezuelan government has implemented against the opposition.
But that's not all, according to a report published last year, the Maduro government hired ZTE for a national security project for 70 million dollars, as reported by Diario Contexto. For this, a ZTE work team was installed in the telecommunications company Cantv, with the aim of creating a more sophisticated database.
Reuters said that currently, the Venezuelan government has data such as birthdays, medical history, property, family information, income, membership of a political party, presence in social networks, among others.
On this, on November 28, US Senators Marco Rubio (Republican) and Chris Van Hollen (Democrat) sent a letter to the White House requesting an investigation into ZTE Corp's links with the Venezuelan government , especially the contract with CANTV, the main company of Telecommunications of Venezuela, as indicated by the Republic.
This is due to the economic restrictions that the United States raised last year against the government of Nicolás Maduro, which does not allow companies that have agreements with the US government to make commercial agreements with public institutions of sanctioned countries.
It is estimated that currently 17 million Venezuelans have the Carnet de la Patria, and those who are still loyal to the regime receive great rewards for fulfilling their civic commitments. This in contrast to the reality of thousands of Venezuelans, who have little humanitarian assistance, low wages and lack of basic services such as water, food, and housing.
LatinAmerican Post | Mariela Ibarra Piedrahita
Translated from: 'Carnet de la Patria: El nuevo tormento de los venezolanos'