So many questions
Two of the leading emphases of the Bukele government have been its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its roll-out of Bitcoin as legal tender with a government-promoted Chivo wallet app. Whether you agree with those policies or not, the government has declared most of the information around those policies to be confidential information not to be revealed to the public. When the government says it is doing a world-class job managing the pandemic, it withholds the information necessary to verify the claim. When the government says millions of Salvadorans are using the Chivo wallet app and the country is benefiting, it declines to share the underlying financial information.
Here is a selection of the unanswered questions about COVID response and the Chivo wallet. This is information which would promote transparency and increase trust around pandemic response and the government's Bitcoin initiatives.
- Since the official COVID death toll only includes persons with a COVID-19 diagnosis established by a test, how many other untested persons were being treated for or reported COVID-19 symptoms at the time of their death?
- What is the number of people hospitalized in the COVID-19 specialty Hospital El Salvador on each day?
- What has been the mortality rate of patients admitted to Hospital El Salvador?
- How many persons have been buried in cemeteries around the country under Covid 19 protocols?
- What are the percentages of the population vaccinated by age range?
- How many people have received each of the several vaccines currently being used in El Salvador?
- What is the percentage of the population vaccinated in each municipality and department?
- For the 2500 tests processed each day at the national laboratory, where were the samples taken?
- How many breakthrough infections exist in people who have been vaccinated?
- How many persons with breakthrough infections have died from the disease?
- Why does the government believe this information cannot be shared with medical experts outside the government and with the Salvadoran public?
Chivo and Bitcoin
- What is the current financial condition of “CHIVO S. A. DE C. V.” - the quasi-public entity which is responsible for the Chivo wallet? How much money does it owe to Salvadorans in user balances in dollars and Bitcoin, and what reserves does it have to back up payment of these balances?
- What is the cost to the government of operating the Chivo ATM network and Chivo cashier locations, since the Chivo users are not charged commissions? (Costs would include personnel, security, re-loading ATM machines with cash, etc.) What is the cost of Chivo customer support and Chivo promotion and who is paying that cost?
- What information does the government retain regarding user transactions in the Chivo app?
- How many merchant accounts have been set up in Chivo system?
- What information exists about the number of uses of Chivo in consumer merchant transactions?
- Does the government acknowledge a problem in the Chivo wallet app which allowed identity theft? What investigation is the government doing of this problem? How many users have reported this problem to governmental entities or Chivo customer service?
- Users have illustrated how Chivo can generate a QR code which includes a non-encrypted DUI number and name. Is this being changed?
- When Nayib Bukele tweets “we bought the dip” who is “we?” and who decides when to make such purchases?
- What exchange is the source of the price for Bitcoin which is displayed in the Chivo app?
- Why does the government believe this information cannot be shared with the Salvadoran public?