At Home Depot, moving the bolivar
A Home Depot hardware salesman in Alabama is waging an online war for economic freedom in his native Venezuela, said Anatoly Kurmanaev in The Wall Street Journal. Gustavo Díaz, 60, runs DolarToday.com, which provides a widely used black-market exchange rate for Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar. The site is one of Venezuela’s most popular, meaning Díaz probably “does more than anyone else to set the price of everything from rice to aspirin to cars” in his home country. Between shifts at the Hoover, Ala., store where he works, Díaz fends off threats from Venezuela’s socialist government, which has controlled the bolivar’s value since 2003 and bars anyone from quoting informal rates. Díaz himself participated in a failed coup against former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 2002, before seeking asylum in the U.S. “To me, it’s still a passionate daily fight against totalitarianism,” he says.