Venezuelan banks, among the most profitable in Latin America, are heavily exposed to government debt. Public debt can account for as much as 60 percent of a bank's assets. The government is also the largest single depositor among many banks.
Two months ago, legislators passed a controversial central bank law that allows the government to withdraw and spend part of the country's $30 billion in international reserves.
How private are these banks in the first place? Then again, without the political-banking partnership, how could Venezuela enjoy the benefits of a fiat currency and fractional reserve banking?