Chinese telecom giant ZTE is helping the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela implement a social credit system similar to Beijing’s through its ration cards, Reuters revealed Thursday.
According to Reuters, Nicolás Maduro regime’s recent release of the “Carnet de la Patria,” or “Fatherland Card,” to all citizens forms part of a plan to develop widespread control over the population. Venezuelans have needed a card for access to subsidized food, healthcare, and gasoline since 2014. The Maduro regime has recruited China to help the cards expand their use not just to track what citizens eat, but their social, political, and economic behavior.
Last year, the report claims, the Venezuelan regime spent $70 million on hiring ZTE to help develop their project in a supposed effort to bolster “national security.” Now, a team of ZTE engineers is reportedly working in Caracas at a special unit within the Venezuelan state telecommunications company Cantv to help build a more sophisticated database.
Some of the information already stored on the database reportedly includes “birthdays, family information, employment and income, property owned, medical history, state benefits received, presence on social media, membership of a political party and whether a person voted.”
Maduro first announced that the “Fatherland card” was replacing standard rations a year ago, declaring it essential to “build the new Venezuela” while encouraging people to sign up. An estimated 18 million Venezuelans already have the card. Those still loyal to the regime reportedly benefit from meager cash rewards given to those who best perform their civil duties.