Protagonistas de Moneda


Venezuela will soon need new, higher-denomination bank notes and – as a result – new people, places and things to put on them. The nominations are in, and you suggested way too many.

We’ve narrowed the “people” race it down to these 10 choices. At the end, you get to vote!

1Arturo Uslar Pietri

One of the most influential thinkers in our history, with his “Sembrar el Petróleo” mantra being his most remembered phrase. He was around since Juan Vicente Gómez, through Pérez Jiménez, la Cuarta, la Venezuela Saudí, el Viernes Negro, el Caracazo and Chavez’s failed coup. A historical juggernaut.

2Teresa de la Parra

She was at the forefront of the Venezuelan feminist movement. Her written work addressed the lack of real opportunities women had in the 19th Century. Essentially, it all boiled down to not wanting to have to get married and be a housewife for her. She fought for her right… to party.

3Rómulo Betancourt

Founding father of Acción Democrática, president of the Republic, the most famous set of Buddy Holly glasses in Venezuela, and most likely forefather of the famous tequeño-and-whisky culture. He laid the foundation for democracy, the 4th Republic and led the beggining of the most stable period in our history.

4Jacinto Convit

He developed a vaccine to fight leprosy and got nominated for a Nobel Prize because of this, then went on to try to cure cancer. On top of these mundane practices, he worked in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, founded the National Institute of Dermatology (nowadays National Institute of Biomedicine). But he was a vicious workaholic, publishing his last study at age 100. What could he possibly be compensating for? #ChillaxBro

5Simón Díaz

He’s our Johnny Cash, plain and simple. His songs are as big a part of our folklore as what inspired him to write his music. Internationally acclaimed and recognized, he’s what all Venezuelan musicians aspire to reach. Also, he was really popular amongst adverters and someone who cared about educating and acting quite a bit.

6Carlos Cruz Diez

Our best known contemporary artist, whose murals and work shaped the way Venezuelans understand art. How big of a deal is he? So big, the Venezuelan government comissioned him to design a mosaic on the entire floor of the country’s biggest airport. Not only that, but thanks to an ever growing diaspora, said piece inspired the now customary close-up picture of it as a sign of farewell. In other words, we say goodbye to our fatherland with a Cruz Diez at our feet.

7Andrés Eloy Blanco

He’s the then living proof of versatility. Although a lawyer, founding member of Acción Democrática, Foreign Affairs Minister, and member of the renowned Generación del 28, we remember him most as a great poet and humorist. His poem Angelitos Negros has been covered by world-famous artists like Celia Cruz and Pedro Infante in rhythms as different as the many jobs Blanco held.

8Humberto Fernández-Morán Villalobos

Convit wasn’t the only badass doctor this country spawned. Fernández-Morán developed the now universal tool all of his contemporary colleagues use, the scalpel. I don’t even know what they used before, a regular knife? Maybe, who’s to say? But Fernández-Morán deserves to be on this list, because his creation led to something much more grandiose down the line: THE SCALPEL BLADE FRISBEE. When Venezuelan technology meets German engineering, things are bound to be amazing.

9Tomás Lander

This politician and journalist is best remembered for founding El Venezolano, a newspaper that gave way to liberalism as a political doctrine in the country, thus technically being the guy who brought a set of ideals that would dominate the political spectrum for the rest of the 19th century. No punchline here, just you know, we owe him.

10Teresa Carreño

Our first rockstar, a muse for Kiara down the line. She’s considered by many as one of the most prolific musicians in Latin America during her time. The fact that she played venues in Paris, London, Berlin, and Milan, and during a time when women couldn’t even vote, testifies how much cooler than Madonna she is. So much so in fact, that we named our biggest theater (and second largest in South America) after her.


[yop_poll id=”3″]

Tomorrow, the back-of-the-bill vote!

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  1. “Venezuela will soon need new, higher-denomination bank notes…”

    Right! Like we haven’t needed them for the last year.
    When US$100 today represents more than 800 bills of Bs.100.

    Just stand in line at a bank while people are depositing the day’s receipts from their businesses and the teller takes up to an hour counting all the bills even with the help of a money counter.

    Helping out tourists who need to go to restaurants or shopping with packages and packages of bills.
    Local banks are limiting the amount you can withdraw in cash which makes simple things like car repairs or a/c service really difficult at those places that don’t use POS machines, many times not through a fault of theirs but the lack of a CANTV phone line.

    We needed larger bills months ago.

    • I think we need something that reflects the moral and monetary devaluation of the country. I honestly do not know if Uslar put in one of those bills, exalts or offends.

  2. I think it is a disservice to include any Venezuelan of such calibre until the name of the currency is changed and we fix our internal mess.

    “Bolivar hay solo uno, la moneda se llama peso”.

  3. Humberto Fernández-Morán Villalobos invented the DIAMOND SCALPEL, not the Scalpel per se. Your citation makes it sound like scalpels weren’t around before his time, which is false.

    It’s about time we took into account Venezuelan women for these things. Either on the list is fine by me.

    Living persons should not be on the list either, so Cruz Diez, awesome as he is, shouldn’t be on it either.

  4. Daniel, or other members of the forum. Please elaborate on “most likely forefather of the famous tequeño-and-whisky culture.” I am familiar with the tequeno and whisky but not with the culture aspect. Thanks

    • Tequeño and Guiski culture involves dressing up, inviting 20 friends, taking over the building’s common areas on the ground floor, and playing music as loud as possible on Saturday night until your neighbors start tossing bottles from above.

    • It was also the mandatory combo at political meetings for decades. When Accion Democratica met, it was usually with these two things in the background. Imagine, I don’t know, what the tea is to the British, haha.

  5. You know what I love about this list? Not a single military man! Sadly, that which I love is also that which makes the list improbable.

  6. Now as a serious question, what is the threshold to get a new banknote? I agree with the comment above that it feel like we need more than a Bs. 1000 banknote. When I was born, 1 and 2 were already out and the max banknote was 500. And then I saw the 1000, 5000, 10k, 20k and 50k. But is there any sort of threshold that has to be passed so that the BCV makes the decision to make another banknote? Any expert on the area?

  7. When i saw the poll for this topic for the first time i understand there’s no a big difference between the people that crashed the country with their messianism and populism, and the people who discuss and complain about how the country is nowadays in this site.

    It’s a shame you hadn’t understood that personality cult is deletereous to society in whatever way it manifests.

    People in bank notes? Bad. Living people in bank notes? Absurd.

    And of course, some blinds will feel rash because of what i’m saying and will reply to my perspective “they represent the progress and culture, the arts and music”, but that’s is your narrow point view of what our society is. And, as personality cult is visceral, what you think the society is, is only your own valoration, and discards the others visceral valorations, which has the same effect of splitting people because of their political approaches.

    Other people would say, not in a sarcastic way as some guys who had comment previously guessing themselves intelligent people, Why not Chávez?, why not Bolívar? why not a beauty pageant? why not Chino and Nacho? and so on…

    As i wrote in the poll when i saw it some weeks ago, people as people are not valuable enough to be taken as symbols of a country. You better ask for what would represent the country as a whole, we have a lot of symbols and things to be used to achieve such a representation of our country, for all of us.

    • Bájale dos. It’s a global phenomena to put people in banknotes. I don’t think we hace cult for Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi who is in the Bs. 20 banknote. Putting someone in a banknote doesn’t mean we have a cult for them, it’s the usage you give to their image.

        • For Christ sake, the Euro is a currency for 25 countries. It was wise not to put anyone, it was actually dangerous to put someone. I don’t have any problem with not putting people in the banknotes. Go and do it in fact. What I have a problem is with someone coming feeling morally superior and comparing us with the Chavista establishment because we are having a nice discussion of whom we could put in an hypothetical new banknote. Come on!

          • Harold you haven’t get the point, what i’m saying is representing people as icons is not good, you can represent people by icons not as icons. Es decir, representa sus logros con íconos, no los vuelvas íconos.

            And about being morally superior or not, i’m not pretending to be anything. I’m stating that you are repeating the same speech the chavizta stablishment are using about the use and significance of symbologies and symbols.

          • Leaving apart the chavizta-non chavizta venezuelan scheme, read this article (april 2015), another reason to not use people directly over a banknote is the gender-equality-rash and, as well as the article points, the appreciation or controversy asociated to the choosen people.


            Norway is deleting people from its banknotes, you don’t have to be a heterogenous country to realize that people by being people is not strong enough to represent a country.

      • Argentina is issuing new banknotes without people on them, Uruguay buried Artigas’ bust from its coins (and military heroes from its bills).

        If they ask me, I’d remove all the faces from an eventually new venezuelan currency. But they just can do whatever they want with this absolutely worthless one.

    • Hey there Luis,

      Look, I get your point and I do too understand the dangers of a cult of personality. But this exercise is meant as the celebration of people that truly added to Venezuelan folklore. If we’re going to be proud of natural wonders, amazing climate and biodiversity (which are all accidentally Venezuelan, as in not made or earned by us), we might as well help instill some proud in our work and are biggest achievers. No harm done there.

      • No Daniel, you are been naive. as yourself have stated José María Vargas and Andrés Bello were not choosen, and the list would be endless as there’s many people worth to be on the list.

        Some people argues that no militar in the list is good, but isn’t that a manifestation of our current polarization because of politics? Being militar is enough for not being choosen as a symbol of the country?

        The importance of symbols is a topic to be very vey carefully dealt with. Think about how the current government changed the national symbology, from the flag to the use of words like “escuálido”. Using people in banknotes only repeat that manipulation of the national symbology.

        Stamping people on a banknote is very common in non polarized societies, but in the Venezuela of today, it is not a clever choice.

        If you really want to excelse people, do it by representing their achievement not by representing the people. Because that is the mistake of the personality cult, coining people as icons.

        For example, wanna represent Teresa Carreño? do it by representing the theater and a piano as icons, they are more relevant and tied to her than her own face. The same for Cruz Diez, who is still alive and by no way should be represented directly over a banknote, use one of his pieces not his face.

      • I think we should use symbols like the Euro bank notes. Maybe the Maracaibo Bridge. But don’t put on them the face of individuals we are so proud of for contributing to the good things of what makes to be a Venezuelan. I event think we should change the name of the currency because it’s pretty sad and embarrassing to say that the founding father of our motherland devalues everyday by the second.

      • Daniel,

        Every nation is built upon its myths. For good or bad, a culture’s myths about its origins and history inform the population of who they are. Venezuela has gone through a period of deconstruction in which Chavismo set about destroying the previous Venezuelan mythology and rewriting it. Following the downfall of Chavismo, the new government will need to recreate a new mythology. Instead of leaving a vacuum, which could easily be filled by others for pernicious purposes, let us use the opportunity to create new myths that are noble and heroic and that will serve Venezuela for the decades to come.

  8. Something I’ve decried for years is that to many Venezuelans, the only fine Venezuelan to ever live after Bolivar is Marcos Perez Jimenez, a man who jailed political enemies and was alright with torturing and killing civil liberties.

    This post is why this site rules. Great Venezuelans. I went with a feminist (Mrs. de la Parra), but really any of them would be a great choice.

  9. Poor guy or gal who goes on the bill, they’ll be the face of the new devaluation that’s coming…

    Come to think of it; then maybe Chavez is the right person..

  10. Y que hay de nuestro primer presidente civil? Médico, Rector de la UCV y hombre de principios (no olvidemos su respuesta a Carujo). José María Vargas es el hombre que están buscando…

  11. Also, in Canada we just got these cool new Polymer Notes which, it being Canada, are tested to be durable in temperatures of -75 degrees!

    They’re pretty neat. You can put them through the washing machine as many times as you want and they just literally get laundered. Plus they’re made of oil. Un tiro al suelo, in Venezuelan terms.

  12. Just think about this: Do you really -really- want any of those great faces to be devaluating fastly than Rosita’s reputation? For real?

    Hugo Chávez Frías, the Supreme Commander, on the 10.000 banknote. I rest my case.

  13. I propose they make it out of toilet paper rather Quico. And with Some bolivarian revolution icons to boot. At least we all know what good these bills are going to be in the coming Hyper inflation ride….

    And yes, I second the motion to think achievement and values rather than people on monetary instruments such as these. Also make them beautiful! …

  14. Taking that argument of the who in and why not this other guy (just to assume a different point of view the one i believe)…

    No one has mentioned the real founder of the concept of Venezuela as a country, the person that in the early s. XVIII thought about the lands between the Caribbean and the Parima should be organized and strenghted with its own institutions as a country inside the Empire.

    Because Venezuela was born in the head of an spaniard, to be at the good service of his Catholic Majesty and to excelse and participate in the good and pride of the Spains at the two sides of the ocean.

    Antonio de Gálvez.

    Now, retaking my original line of thought, he could be very well represented by an image of a geographical chart from the XVIII century, “from the Caribbean to the Parima and from the Goajira to the Esequibo”, the seal of the Bourbons and the coat of arms of the cities at the time chartered as “royal and very loyal city” by the kings during the Hispanic period.

  15. He developed a vaccine to fight leprosy and got nominated for a Nobel Prize because of this, then went on to try to cure cancer. On top of these mundane practices, he worked in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, founded the National Institute of Dermatology (nowadays National Institute of Biomedicine). But he was a vicious workaholic, publishing his last study at age 100. What could he possibly be compensating for? #ChillaxBro

    El “but” era qué trabajaba mucho y hasta que tuvo 100 años? Eso es negativo? No wonder we’re fucked up.

  16. As a practical matter high inflation has made some current low denomination bank notes take a value equivalent to that of former coins . Coins can be easier to use than bank notes and are more resitstant to constant use and wear . My suggestion would be to have all 20bs , 10bs, 5bs, 2 bs notes elliminated and replaced by coins of that denomination .

    As to what figure to use to adorn the face of any new bank notes I find the idea of replacing faces of famous Venezuelans with other emblematic representations of the country deserving of consideration , for example spectacular landscapes like Angel Falls , The Majestic Tepuis of the High Lands of Guayana , The splendid Avila mountain , or some local fauna like our jungle Leopards or some of our Beautiful Tropical Birds. or even some emblematic Flora like our Orchids ( reputed to be among the most beautiful in the world), or Trees ( El Araguaney) . !!

    I must confess feeling there is some vengative justice in having Chavez appear in the 100.000 Bs bill so that if ever we come to use that bill we can remmeber who was ultimately responsible for the total debasement of our currency.!!


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