In a plan designed to tackle hyperinflation, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday announced plans to raise his country’s minimum wage and create a single exchange rate pegged to his government’s petro-backed cryptocurrency, effectively devaluing the country’s currency by 96%, Reuters reported.
Venezuelans rushed to shops Friday to stock up on goods before the monetary overhaul – which will remove five zeros from prices – took effect.
Hyperinflation has meant piles of cash are needed to buy basic products. Images by Reuters show the daily realities of the crisis.
A kilogram of tomatoes costs about 5 million bolívars, or $US0.76.
Shoppers rushed to stockpile food before the changes took effect Monday amid concerns that merchants might close and the banking system could be overtaxed.
A 2.4-kilogram chicken is pictured next to 14.6 million bolívars, or $US2.22.
A kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of carrots is pictured next to 3 million bolívars, or $US0.46.
“I came to buy vegetables, but I’m leaving because I’m not going to wait in this line,” Alicia Ramirez, 38, a business administrator, told Reuters while leaving a supermarket in the western city of Maracaibo. “People are going crazy.”
A roll of toilet paper is worth 2.6 million bolívars, or $US0.40.
“Venezuela needs big economic changes and we are going to do it ourselves,” Maduro said at a rally in May.
A 1-kilogram package of rice is pictured next to 2.5 million bolívars, or $US0.38.
A package of diapers is pictured next to 8 million bolívars, or $US1.22.
Poor Venezuelans without bank accounts have for months been carrying wads of cash to make basic purchases. Inflation hit 82,700% in July as the country’s economy continued to suffer, Reuters reported.
A 1-kilogram package of corn flour is pictured next to 2.5 million bolívars, or $US0.38.
People walking past graffiti that says “Maduro, misery.”
President President Nicolas Maduro said economic war was being waged against Venezuela by adversaries, with wealthy business owners raising prices to put pressure on the socialist government. Such a phenomenon was seen in Salvador Allende’s Chile before the 1973 coup.
He said the new measures announced Friday would bring stability to the country.
People looking for products at a supermarket in Caracas.
Empty supermarket shelves have become a common sight.
Maduro has declared a public holiday for Monday, when the new bills with lower denominations are scheduled to be introduced.
People shopping for vegetables and fruits at a stall in Caracas.
Since a decadelong oil boom, the decline of Venezuela has seen hundreds of thousands of citizens leave the country by bus across South America in one of the region’s worst migration crises.
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