For Monday, December 12, 2016. Translated by Javier Liendo.
This measure primarily affects the poorest citizens, people who have no bank accounts and who can -and know- only how to deal in cash.
“The Bs. 100 banknote is invalid in the national territory,” said Nicolás, contradicting Nélson Merentes, head of the Central Bank of Venezuela, who had said scarcely four days ago that the old bills would continue circulating along with the new ones for a time, just like it happened during the monetary reconversion of 2008, when old bills were valid for a year, a period that was later extended for a few extra months. This measure primarily affects the poorest citizens, people who have no bank accounts and who can -and know- only how to deal in cash.
Nicolás spoke proudly. Maybe Putin’s promise to lend him a hand in agricultural, energy and economic matters was like a Gatorade for his ego, a power pill. He put his role as the “negotiator who wants peace” in the deepest pocket he’d been using thus far, but this doesn’t justify the cynicism of claiming that 90% of Venezuelans are fully capable of covering our needs, or that this year has been an economic and social miracle, while also announcing that 2017 will be a year for prosperity despite the well-known forecasts of recession and inflation.
Creating chaos to punish the mafias
The reasoning behind this measure is not at all economic but political. Nicolás’s intention is punishing the mafias that have been playing with bolívares at the Colombian border, not relieving the effects of inflation or the collapse of electronic transactions. According to him, the rush to invalidate the Bs. 100 banknotes within 72 hours must be an essential blow against the villains he just made up, although the real blow is against the citizens who have ten days to exchange their bills before the BCV, and against the BCV itself, which only has two offices to exchange six billion Bs. 100 banknotes.
Who explained to him that absurd link between invalidating Bs. 100 bills and lowering the black market dollar?
Nicolás claimed there are millions of Bs. 100 bills repressed in Colombia and Brazil. Who told him that smugglers at the border have the faintest interest in collecting bolívares? Who explained to him that absurd link between invalidating Bs. 100 bills and lowering the black market dollar? Nicolás said that there are national banks that are accomplices of the outflow of paper money and that this operation’s headed by an NGO -he withheld its name-. To solve this, the Executive Branch will hold a meeting with the Venezuelan Banking Association, headed by -brace yourselves- Interior minister Néstor Reverol; seasoned in financial matters and a leading expert in monetary reconversion.
Es Kreisel es excedente
Nicolás wants the Bureau of Institutions of the Banking Sector (SUDEBAN) to operate just like the Bureau of Fair Prices (SUNDDE,) as “a sword to defend the people.” In order to explain why he wants this, he spoke of the toys company Kreisel, which he claimed wanted to rob children of their Niño Jesús. Defining superintendent William Contreras as “a righteous man,” he allowed him to tell his version of the confiscation of toys from another Kreisel warehouse. A shameful tale with many weak spots in its structure and in his joy for being the best malandro Robin Hood. Nicolás wants to create a company of toy-making artisans right after expropriating Kreisel. He asked his audience to praise SUNDDE, and he defined himself as “the example of respect that overcomes violence,” finishing up with this phrase: “I’m simply doing justice.” Someone should explain him what an execution is.
Since Nicolás speaks forwards and backwards, it’s probable that he ends up backtracking today or tomorrow, and extending the period to exchange Bs. 100 bills in consideration of “the people.”
Today is a banking holiday. Point-of-sale transactions have been slow for several days, when they work at all. People with Bs. 100 banknotes will want to spend them as soon as possible and it’s probable that many businesses -from kiosks to bakeries- won’t accept them. This measure aims to paralyzing cash transactions, further introducing chaos in an already agonizing economy. Invalidating the Bs. 100 banknote before there’s even a replacement for it is serious, since many economists have cautioned about the unlikeliness that the new banknotes start circulating on the promised dates. Invalidating the banknote with the heaviest circulating amount -without having a replacement- is sure to cause mayhem.
Since Nicolás speaks forwards and backwards, it’s probable that he ends up backtracking today or tomorrow, and extending the period to exchange Bs. 100 bills in consideration of “the people.” He never answers to justice for his abuses and their consequences, anyway. For now most Venezuelans are concerned, some thinking of the outgoing Bs. 100 bill, and others, of the outbound ticket through Maiquetía Airport.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.