Mayor of Caracas, Venezuela, launches own currency


The official mayoralty of Caracas launched on Sunday its own currency, the “Caribbean”, due to the shortage of cash and the loss of value of the bolivar in the middle of the hyperinflationary spiral that drowns Venezuelans.
The Caribs, with denomination notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100, can only be used at food fairs at subsidized prices that organizes the office, informed the mayor Érika Farías, ally of the President Nicolás Maduro. Each Caribbean equals 1,000 bolivars. Farías defined them as “a protection mechanism” for the population. Caracas citizens can exchange bolivars for the municipal currency through electronic transactions in points with datáfonos in the festivities of the mayoralty. The shortage of cash is one of the headaches of Venezuelans, who face a hyperinflation that the IMF projects in 13,000% for this year and a sharp shortage of basic products. Although Maduro and senior officials link that situation with “mafias” that they smuggle with paper money, experts believe that it responds to the impossibility of printing tickets at the rhythm of uncontrolled inflation . The highest denomination, of 100,000 bolivars, barely reaches for a coffee on the street. Maduro announced in March the launch of new bills and coins, which will come into force on June 4. In a monetary reconversion process that will subtract three zeros from the bolivar and with which 100,000 bolivars will become 100. Amid the chaos, communities have begun to implement parallel currencies. At the end of last year, neighbors of January 23 – huge popular area of ​​western Caracas – put into circulation the “Honeycomb”, whose ticket of highest value is illustrated with the face of the deceased ex-president Hugo Chávez (1999-2013). It circulates in a sector of that neighborhood – an old chavista stronghold – to trade products produced by the community itself. AFP


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