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Venezuelans on the Removal of the 100-Bolivar Note: ‘Thoughtless, Dangerous’

A woman shows a wad of 100-bolivar bills in San Cristobal, Venezuela. PHOTO: George Castellanos/AFP/Getty

Venezuelans say the government’s move to replace the note has come too late to reverse the country’s economic woes

By Carmen Fishwick | 15 December 2016

THE GUARDIAN — You need a minimum of 50 100-bolivar notes to buy a McDonald’s burger in central Caracas, and that’s without a soft drink and fries on the side. With the smallest denomination being pulled from circulation and replaced with larger notes on Thursday, wallets might lighten. But Venezuelans who responded to a Guardian callout say the move will disrupt an already chaotic situation, making the lives of the most vulnerable even worse.

“Right now, the 100-bolivar note represents almost half of all the notes we have. Because inflation is so severe, the first four notes – 2, 5, 10, 20 – are useless. Any wallet is too small to carry this amount of money,” says 25-year-old Gabriel, a student from Caracas.

“But the bank said they have not received [the new notes] … we have almost no cash in our hands. After people changed the notes, they went to ATMs … they received new 100 notes and had to make the line again to deposit those! This shows a little bit how illogical this situation is,” he says.

Venezuelans were given just 72 hours as of Tuesday to deposit 100-bolivar notes before they become officially worthless. Six new notes and three new coins, the largest worth 20,000 bolivars (£3.93), are to be released. […]

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