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Re: [Debconf-team] DC14 bids: money handling

Hi Luis,

So, it's the best solution to not convert any USD into Bolivares and use the dollars directly to pay to an USD account of the food/accomodation and maybe day trip provider?
Do do you think we can find such hotels, food providers and travel agencies? And is it legal to do it this way?

Do you already have an estimate on how much money you could raise locally? Would it be enough to pay all providers that don't accept USD directly?


On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM, Luis Alejandro Martínez Faneyth <luis@huntingbears.com.ve> wrote:
Hi Moray,

El 01/03/13 18:16, Moray Allan escribió:

DC14 bid teams,

How do you plan for money handling to work in your proposed location?

For the USA, I assume the answer will be "use SPI", but feel free to
comment further.

For Venezuela, the bid page says, "Venezuela has a currency exchange
control. It is illegal for people to exchange dollars, euros, other, for
bolívares (official currency), unless is done through official
institutions. In the past, the country had large losses of money due to
the flight of capital. The government implemented a currency exchange
control to protect the internal cashflow. This might become an obstacle
in our logistic."

I don't think that having to exchange money through official mechanisms
is a problem, it just means we need to make our plans using the official
exchange rates.

But what are the controls on money entering and leaving the country? Do
we need special permissions to send money into the country, and how
difficult is that/how long does it take?

For individuals, one can enter and leave the country with less than $10,000 without having to declare such amount. Also, the use of credit and debit cards is accepted globally (on mayor stablishments). For things like buying souvenirs or eating on a street stand or renting water motorcycles, people are going to need Bolívares.

For international money transfers, the operation is a bit tricky. It is permitted to have dollar accounts on venezuelan banks, but as this was implemented recently, the conditions and requirements to open this kind of accounts are not as clear as we would expect. A legal entity should open the account, among some other tricky requirements. After the account is set up, it can recieve money transfers from outside, and then it can be cashed out in Bolívares on a local bank. This is the only official way to introduce foreign funds into the country. However, this is not a path we recommend to follow.

There is another legal way. If the operation occurs in a country where there is no currency exchange control, it would be ok. For example, the local team can partner up with a local company (travel agency, FOSS startup, ...) that has an account outside the country to receive dollars and give us Bolívares in Venezuela (at official rate).

And there is yet another legal way. Transfers can be made directly to providers that have an account outside the country. For example, The hotel we are proposing has accounts outside, and possible, the tourist agency which would provide us with transport+food to the Day Trip.

There's also to take into account the proportion of the budget that can be covered through local sponsoring.

As discussed on [debian-ve], we would like to state that receiving sponsoring from SPI is a matter that has to be managed with anticipation and special attention. It is better for us to use SPI sponsoring on specific things like the hotel or food providers payment.

What about getting money out
of the country -- what are the barriers to doing bank transfers to
transfer un-spent money (or profit from merchandise etc.) to another

Getting money out of the country is very complicated, but not impossible. It has to be done directly through CADIVI (official currency exchange operator), or through representatives that make the CADIVI procedure for us. One of the limitations is that CADIVI only allows a maximum amount of 900USD to be transferred per month.

If it is to be done through a representative (most likely) they will receive Bolívares and convert them to USD at the official rate (6,30).

Do you know of another international event which dealt with these issues
which could tell us about their experiences?

Yes, Venezuela held the Fedora Developers Conference (FUDCON) last year [0]. Its main organizer, Maria Leandro, has been a very important source of information to start this phase of the bid process.

Basically, its the same working scenario. RedHat sponsored the major part of the budget by paying directly to the hotel in Venezuela and other stuff outside the country. It was a determinant aspect that the hotel had an account outside the country. The rest of the budget was sponsored locally.

[0] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon:Valencia_2012

Luis Alejandro Martínez Faneyth
Blog: http://www.huntingbears.com.ve/
Twitter/Identi.ca: @LuisAlejandro
ED51 8FE7 4107 715D 0464 8366 F614 5A95 E78D AA2E


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