This Socialist Country Has Run Out of Money to Print New Bills
Reports of consumer goods shortages in Venezuela paint a stark picture of the post-Hugo Chavez economy as the people face deprivation on a massive scale.
As food becomes scarce, with rolling blackouts rendering what perishable goods can be purchased at risk of rotting inside refrigerators, lawmakers declared a “food emergency” and President Nicolás Maduro urged his people to feed themselves by planting urban gardens.
Daily necessities like toilet paper and diapers are impossible to find in stores, and in a region with high active Zika virus transmission, the unavailability of mosquito repellant and condoms may have epidemic-sized repercussions.
Demonstrations erupted at a children’s hospital in the capital city, Caracas, as desperate parents protested the lack of chemotherapy treatments for their children, HIV patients are going without antiretroviral drugs, and the shortage of even basic medications, such as aspirin, has alarmed the World Health Organization.
Businesses and schools have been ordered to adopt a “five-day weekend,” and riots have erupted in cities throughout the country.
In response to the deepening crisis, which he attributes the crisis to a capitalist conspiracy to topple his government, President Nicolás Maduro doubled the printing of small notes in 2015 alone.
Today, 1,127 Venezuela Bolivars is the equivalent of a single $1 bill.
The shortages have hit even the government as the Venezuelan Central Bank, under the full control of Maduro since December, has outsourced currency printing resulting in the arrival in the country of a 747 landing with a full cargo hold not of food or medicine, but of Bolivars.
Now, Maduro is unable to even pay to print the money needed to keep up with his country’s out-of-control inflation.
In March, the world’s largest banknote manufacturer sent a collection letter to Maduro dunning the country for a past due balance of $71 million for printing more of the nation’s worthless currency that can’t be used to buy anything, anyway.
Supporters of Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders might want to take note of this latest “success” story of socialism at work.