Maracaibo (Venezuela), 12/17/2016.- A group of people protests downtown and near the Banco Central de Venezuela, today, saturday, December 17th 2016, in Maracaibo (Venezuela). Dozens of Venezuelans are protesting in states in the country's interior against the cash supply failures. EFE/HUMBERTO MATHEUS.
The last five days have represented the total collapse of the Venezuelan economy. The President Nicolás Maduro seems to have taken the worst decisions through the Economic Emergency Decreed and the country is engulfed in absolute chaos.
On December 12th the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced the annulment of the 100 Bolivar bill – the higher denomination and circulation banknote, according to the Venezuelan Central Bank.
The government has argued an alleged “destabilization” movement in the hands of a Colombian mafia, and supported by the US government, that pretends to extract the paper money from the country and “hit” the fractured economy of the South American country.
This strategy, besides coming from the most crude ignorance facing the economic management of a country, it’s a consequence from a previous measure taken by the Venezuelan government to battle a 700% devaluation in 2016 (59% only in the last month), where they decided to issue new banknotes.
Bolívares 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2;000; 1,000 and 500 notes are meant to replace the old notes that were circulating, whose older unit was the 100 bill. It’s presumed that the 20,000 Bolívares note will correspond to around 4 dollars.
After the announcement of the withdrawal of the 100 bill, the Venezuelan Government ruled that a 72 hour period was allowed to deposit all the money in the Offices of the Bank.
Considering the economic situation of the country – where most of the citizens had to deal with their daily routines handling great amounts of bills to be able to overcome their expenses, the despair for the nullity of the little money they could have, made them hurry to the closest office to try and safeguard their money.
Reality, of course, was different.
Hundreds of persons agglomerated in offices historically known as the least efficient in the country (the greatest punishment in Venezuela is to do a procedure in a bank’s office), and collapsed the weak governmental economic system in 48 hours.
Dozens of Venezuelans are protesting in states in the country's interior against the cash supply failures. EFE/HUMBERTO MATHEUS.
In response, the only solution that the government provided was to postpone the deposit of the “demonetized” bills for 5 days, but only in the Central Bank’s offices. Panic and frustration spread in the country’s interior.
Discontent didn’t take long to be heard and those who decided to protest in front of the offices of the bank faced police lines and arrests. Indignation increased when the ATMs only gave 100 bills in return.
Not only was their money vanishing in their hands, but also the national offices were doing nothing about it.
The outcome was predictable: devaluation, shortages of basic commodities and now the spontaneous evaporation of the higher denomination banknote in the country, has led to the wrathful uprising of people in geographically opposed states, like Bolívar and Apure, where lootings and destruction took place, simultaneously.
The National Guard began to furtively arrest representatives of the political opposition, but no public force managed to control the disorder and the fires in shops and banks.
The breaking point was reached when police officers took part in the lootings.
Social media have burst with “proud” photos of the robberies. It seems like the “Socialism of the 21st century” model has resulted in hunger and misery, both physically and spiritually.
Likewise, the incoherence that has represented the chavist government since its genesis, didn’t take long to show: the government ruled that the transportation systems in Caracas where supposed to work for free until next Monday 19th. The government pretended to amend misery with misery.
Frente a su incompetencia para solventar el caos desbordado, el Presidente Nicolás Maduro anunció el sábado la prolongación de la vigencia de los billetes de 100 Bolívares hasta el 2 de Enero, junto con el "cierre preventivo" de la frontera Colombo-Venezolana.
Facing his incompetence to solve the chaos that went out of hand, the President Nicolás Maduro announced this Saturday the prolongation of the validity of the 100 Bolívares bill until January 2nd, along with the “preventive closure” of the border with Colombia.
But this is not a break, this is not a long-term solution, this is the end of a debacle that has been mutating since the first year of the 21st century. The chavist sphere has sacked Venezuela since their beginnings, and the moment has come when the country it’s in absolutely bankruptcy.
Financial, social, spiritual and moral bankruptcy. The Venezuelans are living their darkest time, as a result of the mythification of a hero, waiting for another one to come and save them from a destiny that they have passively allowed.