SAN ANTONIO/MARACAIBO, Venezuela (Reuters) – In San Antonio del Tachira, like scores of Venezuelan towns near the border with Colombia, if you want to buy food or medicine it is no use amassing huge piles of bolivar currency. You need Colombian pesos or U.S. dollars.
Hyperinflation running above 2 million percent per year in Venezuela has made the Venezuelan bolivar practically worthless. For those without electronic payment cards, foreign currency has become the only practical means of trade within the South American country.
Moises - Hernandez - Cleaner - San - Antonio
Moises Hernandez, who works as a cleaner in San Antonio, is paid in Colombia pesos, which allows him to cross the border to the city of Cucuta to buy basic necessities.
“Unless we buy over there, we cannot eat,” the 40-year-old told Reuters. “In Venezuela everything is more expensive.”
Venezuelan - President - Nicolas - Maduro - Use
Since Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro legalized the use of foreign currencies last year, they have increasingly become the norm in many aspects of life.
In border areas and major towns, doctors, merchants and even plumbers require payment in Colombian, Brazilian, U.S. or European currency.
Blackout - Venezuela - Electricity - Week - Bakeries
During a blackout that left much of Venezuela without electricity this week, the few bakeries, restaurants and pharmacies that remained open demanded cash because electronic payment systems were down. For most, that meant foreign currency.
In the western city of Maracaibo – the second-largest in Venezuela – those shops that remained open only accepted payments in U.S. dollars – 5-dollar bills and above.
Everything - Sale - Dollars - Bills - Lila
“Everything is for sale in dollars and where do you find those bills?” asked Lila Matheus, 50, a mother of a 14-year-old boy in Maracaibo. “The truth is I’m afraid because I don’t know where I am going to buy food.”
Much of the foreign currency in Venezuela comes from the...
Wake Up To Breaking News!