The devastation in Venezuela would be funny if this was a make-believe movie or some hair brained dystopian novel. Sadly, we are watching live as millions of real people suffer from deliberate government policies.
The current 100 Bolivar note has been voided while the higher denomination bills have not been put into circulation. Sounds like a good plan to make hungry people hungrier.
12/13 – Fusion – Venezuelans fight to protect their savings as government pulls bills from circulation – After the government gave short notice that the largest bill, the 100 Bolivar note, will be pulled from circulation, people across the country have gone into panic mode to get their currency deposited in a bank.
Anyone who can’t get their money deposited by today, Wednesday, has 10 days to exchange the bills at a government location.
Only problem with that concept?
The government hasn’t announced any authorized exchange locations.
12/16 – Bloomberg – Venezuelan Odyssey for Cash Endures With Delay of New Bills – Surprise, surprise! The new bills, up to a 20,000 Bolivar note, weren’t available on Thursday.
All of the 100 Bolivar notes, worth about 3 U.S. cents, had to be turned in Wednesday, or they became worthless.
For illustration, image having to pay for your groceries with nickels.
Late Thursday, the president went on TV to say the new notes will be moved into circulation next week, the following week, and into January.
The government did give people until December 20 to turn in all their 100 notes.
Making this tragedy more horrible, is that 40% of the people in the country do not have a bank account. How do they turn in their currency?
For people with bank accounts and credit cards, the article says the nation’s debit and credit card network is not reliable.
People turning in their currency are receiving a letter saying they may pick up their new currency in about 5 days.
Article says that a plane-load of 500 Bolivar notes is in a warehouse in Sweden awaiting a plane to be chartered to carry the currency to Venezuela. How hard is it to charter a plane on the international market?
12/16 – Reuters – Pockets of protests, looting in Venezuela as cash dries up – With the trauma of currency drying up in the economy, isolated protests and sporadic looting is appearing. Watch for more to develop.
12/16 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuelans Protest Over Worthless Cash – The largest bill in circulation, the 100 Bolivar note, is now void. For a few more days people may turn in their currency at the central bank.
On Thursday people showing up at the central bank were handed a note saying they can pick up their new currency when it is available. On Friday the central bank did not open their doors. Article says the line Thursday was 18 blocks long and on Friday the military turned away 1,500 people.
Unnamed source says that the central bank has actually received one shipment of the 500 Bolivar note.
Turmoil has erupted in cities on the border with Venezuela and in small cities on the east side of the country. Article says 40 stores were looted in one specific state.
And the intentionally caused suffering of millions continues. This is not an entertaining novel.