Venezuela’s bolivar currency so devalued it no longer fits in wallets
It’s not easy to find someone who still uses a wallet in Venezuela, where inflation is expected to reach 720 per cent this year and the biggest bill – 100 bolivars – is worth about US5¢ on the black market.
The currency has dropped dramatically in value as Venezuela’s oil-based economy has tanked and the government has frantically printed more money. Prices, meanwhile, are soaring.
So Venezuelans must handle huge volumes of cash – so much that the bills don’t always fit in a standard wallet – with many people packing wads of currency in handbags, money belts or backpacks.
The owner of a tiny kiosk selling newspapers, cigarettes and snacks in one of Caracas’ nicer neighbourhoods said that each evening he quietly stuffs a plastic bag full of the day’s earnings, about 100,000 bolivars (about $70) in notes of 10, 20, 50 and 100 bolivars.
This is a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world, and carrying that much cash is dangerous. He said he does not feel safe, even though he uses his own scooter rather than public transport.
“All of Caracas is unsafe,” the 42-year-old kiosk owner, who declined to give his name, said.
Three years ago the volume of cash he carried home after a long day of work was smaller, he said, “and so were the risks”.
He said that his clients usually counted out their notes before stepping out onto the street, since they were too scared to be seen holding money in public.
and here we see an older venezuelan pensioner going to buy the local news paper from the corner deli.. 🙂
“So Venezuelans must handle huge volumes of cash – so much that the bills don’t always fit in a standard wallet – with many people packing wads of currency in handbags, money belts or backpacks.”