First, I beseech you: take nine minutes to watch this video.

I mean, really, do it now.

Hell, even after you’ve watched it you won’t quite believe what you just saw.

It’s important that you watch it, because the entire thing is sooooooo crazy any gloss I come up with will lack verisimilitude until you’ve actually seen it.

It shows Interior Minister Nestor Reverol calmly explaining how the U.S. Treasury Department is paying some NGOs (we’re never told which ones) to ferry Bs.100 notes out of the country to destabilize the government. The notes are then transported (we’re never told how) to warehouses in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Switzerland and Germany where the Venezuelan government (we’re never told how) managed to photograph them alongside recent local newspapers: proof, we’re told, that the bills are alive.

At this point, keen eyed observer that you are, you might be wondering: why not simply burn the notes, or shred them? Because the Treasury Department will pay the unnamed NGOs $1 each for each bill, but only after the Venezuelan regime is overthrown. (So that part makes sense, at least.)

The cherry on top of this bizarre performance is that Reverol — currently under indictment on drug trafficking charges in the U.S. — chose, as a venue to address the bankers he’d gathered for the occasion, the National Anti-drugs Office…the very body he used to lead back when he was running the drugs that got him indicted by the gringos in the first place.

You still with me?

About those bankers…there’s a moment at the end of the video where the VTV camera pans the room, so you get to gauge the expression on their faces.

It’s…a supremely memable moment.

The hot question in the Venezuelan public sphere right now is what the hell the government is trying to achieve with all this.

The government can’t possibly believe these batshit crazy stories about warehouses full of cash in Poland. That goes without saying. The hot question in the Venezuelan public sphere right now is what the hell they’re actually trying to achieve with all this.

It’s a genuinely perplexing question.

Normally, when the government proposes something aggressively stupid, it’s relatively easy to intuit what their intended outcome is, no matter how catastrophically divorced it might be from the idea’s likely consequences. In this case, it’s different…try as you might to think like a chavista, it’s tough to figure out what they think they gain from this.

The chaos that trying to withdraw the highest denomination banknote from circulation in 72 hours is likely to cost it’s clear enough. The way it’ll cause commercial activity to seize up right in the critical weeks ahead of Christmas is obvious. The way it’ll collapse the banks over the next ten days is equally clear. On the other hand, how people are meant to get around if they can’t use Bs.100 bills to pay for bus fare, for instance, is highly opaque. And it’s obvious that the cost of it all will fall most heavily on the 30% of the population that — according to the government’s own estimates — don’t have a bank account at all: poorer people who account for the bulk of what support the government still has.

How is screwing them for no reason in Maduro’s interest?

If Maduro thinks the exchange bureaus in Cúcuta and Bucaramanga are such a big problem, why not just get Diosdado’s cronies to buy them?

None of it makes any damn sense. Our best hypothesis — that they’re trying to strike a blow against the bolivar-peso black market on the Colombian side of the border — is the economic equivalent of trying to get rid of a mosquito on your forehead with a flamethrower.

If Maduro thinks the exchange bureaus in Cúcuta and Bucaramanga are such a big problem, why not just get Diosdado’s cronies to buy them? Worked well enough with Últimas Noticias, amirite? But no, that wouldn’t be any fun. So instead he’s decided to incinerate half the Venezuelan economy for kicks.

Which is why, personally, I’m hanging on to the video at the top of this post. A few minutes ago I set a Google Calendar reminder to show it to my kids on December 12th, 2036. I think it’s important they understand — really understand — how bad things got in the country I keep telling them is theirs, but that they’ve never seen. And this video tells that story in a way mere description just can’t.

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62 COMMENTS

  1. This is a unique WTF Chavista moment. Your flamethrower metaphor is quite appropriate.

    As of last week I thought that everyone holding Venezuelan currency would be naturally smoked by hyperinflation as it take holds next year. But no, why wait to scorch peoples cash next year? Make it happen NOW, and take down commerce altogether just before Christmas.

    What are they trying to do? Are they provoking the people?

  2. I agree, this is a very unorthodox measure. The way I see this is that it should decrease the trust/confidence on the Venezuelan currency even more (if any really remained) in part as the potential loss of “casas de cambios” in Brazil and Colombia could be substantial (if the gov’t effectively prohibits the re-entry of all this cash).

    What the gov’t might be set to gain by doing this (decreasing liquidity by avoiding this cash to be repatriated and by not recognizing the nominal value of these bills after some days) is not a strong argument to offset what this means for most Venezuelans…less outlets to potentially exchange worthless bolivares (since who would want to hold to a note that could be prohibited at any point?), faster depreciation and further loss of purchase power. Senseless, to say the least.

  3. According to their numbers, the USA is destabilizing the economy by hoarding 0.49% of all 100 bolivar bills or a little less than 0.0000004% of the GDP, sounds legit.

  4. I’m on board with the conspiracy to provoke a violent uprising. Chavistas hold the weapons, if they can force half the population to flee to US or wherever they have half as many mouths to feed, and the economy can probably cope for the time being.

    Syria has been in a state of emergency for forty years now, so why not Venezuela?

  5. A bit off topic, but could someone explain how all of these Bolivars left the country. I had assumed that because of the lack of physical goods in Venezuela that people were forced to go to Colombia/Brazil and trade their B’s at the black market rate. The next logical step would have been to send these B’s back into Venezuela and bring back to Colombia/Brazil the highly subsidized goods that are available. Sell those on the black market at home. Why would anyone hold the B’s for longer than possible knowing their value falls daily and inflation is forecasted to get worse in the coming year.

    • Falsification rings, the only logical explanation for somebody keeping stocked on 100 bs bills is the paper is worth more than the value of the currency. About 2 years ago, when they were worth a lot more, a venezuelan got caught in Portugal with suitcases of bolivares. Took me a minute to realize why would anybody do that. Now we know, it’s the friends of Reverol and they send him pics.

  6. Maybe MUD can now have him removed form office on the basis that He is insane and therefor should not be allowed to continue as president

  7. My best attempt at trying to reconstruct the train of thought that must have led to this…

    Ellos creen que me van a marear…por aquí estuvo Samper con unos ‘asesores’ — unos carajos con unos posgrados en universidades gringas, que llegan acá siempre con la misma cotorra que si los multiplicadores esto y la monetización aquello. Algunos cuidado y si no tienen hasta buenas intenciones y todo, estaba el pana Weissbrodt — pero claro, el problema es que la ideología la llevan por dentro. Ellos se creen radicales pero se les olvida lo esencial, lo que de verdad mueve la historia: la guerra de clases. Eso a Alfredo nunca se le olvida, y por eso es que yo a él sí le cree. Él sabe que no son símbolos en una ecuación que mueven las cosas, son intereses. Es la guerra del gran capital contra la revolución porque claro, qué es lo que de verdad amenaza al capitalismo? La revolución. Siempre así fue, y siempre así será.

    Entonces las cosas pasan porque hay gente que quiere que pasen. Los precios suben porque los comerciantes suben los precios, porque quieren — no, necesitan que la gente se arreche para que tumbe al gobierno. Esa es una verdad como una catedral, tan clara y tan obvia que mira todo el dinero y todo los recursos que ha tenido que invertir el capitalismo para tratar de esconderla. Que si la liquidez esto, que si el deficit aquello, como si uno fuese imbécil y no viera lo obvio, que el precio sube cuando el portu se lo sube.

    Entonces que a mi no me vengan a tratar de cotorrearme con cuentos. Tan bruto no soy. Con esos malditos hay que ser duros, no joda: ellos no me joden a mi, ¡yo los jodo a ellos! ¿Van a seguir con la cómica de los precios? ¡Se los mando a bajar con el SUNDDE nojoda, pa que sean serios!

    Ahora resulta que no hay efectivo. Que casualidad. Falta efectivo. Y ¿por qué? ¡Porque se lo llevaron coño! ¿Qué tan difícil de entender puede ser eso? Aquí no pasa una semana sin que yo apruebe otro punto de cuenta para traer más billetes, y resulta que no hay. De bolas que no hay, se los llevaron pa Colombia pa montar un negocio ahí con DolarToday. Pa tratar de jodernos, como todo.

    Pero ellos no me van a joder a mi. Se creen unos arrechitos llevándose la plata en billetes de a cien? ¡Pues que se jodan, les quito validez a los malditos billetes, nojoda, a ver si así aprenden!

    Y después claro salen los aliados de ellos a hablar, por ahí, a confundir, que si los no bancarizados esto, que si la demanda de dinero lo otro…¡farzantes! Son unos coñuemadres que quieren es jodernos sacando la plata de acá, pero yo no me voy a dejar joder! Si ellos se creen arrechos, nojoda, ¡vamos a ver quién es el más arrecho aquí!

      • coño no sé, tu adendum supone que hubo algún tipo de proceso discursivo al rededor de la medida, alguna examinación — por primitiva que fuese — de puntos a favor y en contra. Alguna, por decirlo de otra manera, planificación de políticas públicas

        Y no creo, renacuajo. Justamente. Si hubiese algún espacio para ‘peros’, este tipo de vainas no sucederían. Es la abolición de ese espacio que nos ha traído hasta aquí. Justamente.

        • Francamente, si de verdad siguen con esto, yo casi que no descarto la teoria renacuajo pero mas en serio.

          Ah, no, tranquilo, no vamos a joder a los pobres – no tienen dinero pero nos tienen a nosotros que les “daremos” lo que necesitan. Segun lo decidamos nosotros y sin participación por su parte. Comunismo perfecto.

          Claro que con estos genios eso esta entre no durar 5 dias y no llegar ni a plantearse cuando se forme el peo.

    • Sr. presidente, y que pasa si ahora se llevan mas plata los hijos de puta esos? digo, ahora con un solo billete se van a llevar como 200 de los otros, les puede salir más fácil llevarselos y desestabilizar!

  8. For a couple of years we’ve been told that the origin of constant devaluation and inflation was the excessive liquidity, the senseless printing of money with no actual wealth behind in the form of international reserves or gold. Could this be an attempt to fix that? I mean, putting the stupidity of the official reason aside. Now, for instance, the black market rate has come down a bit… does that make sense?

  9. Most pissed off people:
    Pranes
    Robbers
    Bachaqueros
    Guardias Nacionales
    Policias
    Petejotas
    Gestores
    Funcionarios matraqueros.
    Los variados Danilos.

    All chavistas.
    El que le pega a su familia se arruina.

  10. It’s like this:
    it’s much easier to blame the “economic war” on changing over the bills to compensate for hyperinflation, that way when people suffer, the government can attribute the epic rectal violation on its supporters as a (supposedly glorious but factually miserable) response to a vicious attack on the national economy.
    It’s maneuvering into having a scapegoat for a colossal systematic failure instead of taking responsibility for years of dumbassery and mismanagement. Classic PSUV.

    • Could be — but the hyperinflation is still there. This won’t get rid of it. So the meagre savings/money people have left will now be eaten away by the hyperinflation. The inflation will not stop until they stop printing the money.

  11. The most interesting part of all this unbelievable conspiracy is how fast and easy the Maduro regime is able to pull this dog and pony show, no fact checking, all compliance from the upper chain of command feeding their rotten propaganda machine. They are exposing themselves as a complete FRAUD before the whole world and history.

  12. The last thing we should keep saying is that Maduro is an idiot. He may be a tool and a traitor, but so far he’s winning the match.

    I mean, last I checked he was still in the catbird seat.

    This is obviously a move crafted in Cuba by Ramiro Valdez, and implemented by Maduro & Co.

    This one has all the beauty of a multi purpose 3 in 1 tool.

    1. Distract the population from their daily hell, while at the same time contributing to it.

    2. Piss them off to hopefully lead to bloodshed.

    3. Squeeze commerce even more.

    One wonders if it is not a move designed to completely tank what’s left of the economy, making Venezuelans even more dependent on the State. We could be seeing an early shot in the war to finally sink what’s left of Venezuela.

    • While I agree with your analysis, I think Maduro is still an idiot. Venezuela is three times larger than Cuba, and significantly richer (for now, anyway). By any reasonable standard, Venezuela should be the senior partner in the alliance.

      • Haven’t you seen a woman paying for the hotel to have sex with her boyfriend? It should be the man paying, right? He is the most interested one, no? NO. Maduro is love struck and is giving cul* to the cubans

  13. You know, many people say they do all this batshit crazy stuff on purpose, that it’s all part of a masterful plan. Depending on certain stuff, sometimes I agree in part with this theory, but then comes Reverol talking about NGOs while showing the logos of the CIA, the Treasury Department and the Fed, and suddenly I’m back with the original theory that they are just a bunch of lucky orangutans that don’t know what they’re doing beyond stealing as much as possible for as long as possible, thanks in part to an opposition that matches them perfectly.

    • Reverol’s comments are for the peanut gallery, you know, the same folks that applauded when SUNDDE launched the “price reduction” last week.

      That was the “circo” of last week, the Bs. 100 move is this week’s circus.

      You know, CCS Chron should hold a contest to see who can predict the next batshit move.

      Winner gets a T-shirt.

      • #maduro2018… In an announcement Venezuela confirms reports out of Tehran that with the aide of their revolutionary brothers all B’s 100 have been liberated and returned to the homeland in a midnight raid from their captures in “Polonia”. Por su asistencia Venezuela will finance the purchase of the 80 Boeing jets it is unable to receive loans for from the US Import/Export bank because they are being combatted economically in the same manner as “el pueblo” aqui in Venezuela. #tropicalmierda

  14. I can imagine all the Bachaquero comunity organizing themselves for the next big Business Opportunity, buying Bs 100 bills at 40 or 50 % in order to spare you the cola for the bank deposit.

  15. Not even venezuela analysis mention the storing of the precious 100 Bolivares notes in Germany, Iraq (awsome location for logistics), etc.
    I propose an chavernment anouncement crazyness index kind of modeled along Big O notation for complexity of algorithm:
    If its to crazy for ciccmaher to retweet its at least O(n³)
    If its to crazy for venezuela analysis to mention in their propaganda its at least O(c^n), which is allready prohibitively crazy.
    if its not mentiones in those 2 sources it deserves a crazyness index of O(n!), which is worse than above.

  16. Tratando de encontrar sentido a esto, desde la malicia/estulticia chavista:

    Opción 1: “Bachaquear” los billetes comprándolos a los tenedores actuales (pranes, narcos, lo que sea) a descuento.

    Opción 2: No sé si ellos se atrevan a siquiera pensar en reutilizar el papel para imprimir billetes del nuevo cono.

    Todo esto es absurdo. Yo me rindo.

  17. Goddammit now I get it! Quico, understand the situation: the mafias, contracted by NGO, took the money out of the country (and put it in “ganpones”) to stress the economy due to lack of liquidity (sabes por la circulacion del dinero circulante). So what do Maduro and Reverol do? they make SURE that that dammed money does NOT come back! yep genius! and you know why? because since the mafias are terrorist, the money is tainted and they do not take tainted money! that is why they called the compliance officers of the banks.

    And that buddy is how a Chavista thinks.

    The speaking skills of Reverol… I mean “olganismos” “depaltamento del tesoro” “la circulacion del dinero circulante” “ganpones” “Para dejar el terriporio sin dinero” “la guerra no convencional que tiene que vel en el quiebre del sistema financiero” “siguiente” “sigue” “sigue” “sigue” “fe de vida de… el dinero!?” “observal tambien” “uno treinta dolares” “estricta vigilancia pol tierra mar y aire y evitar el ingreso de este tipo de operacion de repatrial!

    Al lado de reverol, Maduro es Renny Otolina.

  18. Now that the title points to a conspicary, you people should check this out:

    http://sumarium.com/gobierno-esta-preparando-el-terreno-para-la-estatizacion-de-la-banca/

    Chavismo wants to confiscate the banks, along with all the people’s cash.

    http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2013/10/27/reportajes-especiales/167663-operacion-berta-la-confiscacion-masiva-de-dinero

    It’s all part of the castro-cuban-stalinist enslavement of the people, they want people to shut up and suck a lemon.

    Also, the “most vulnerable” chavistas are already cheering and happy with the scraps the regime tosses them, first with the “kreiselazo” and soon with the “xmas-food-azo”

    This guy has some interesting stuff to say about the issue at hand:

  19. Then there’s this:
    Diario La Verdad. Madrid : Hoy la Banca pública y privada de Venezuela legitimó todo el dinero ilegal del NarcoEstado. Toneladas de dinero sucio proveniente de la corrupción, ingresó a las cuentas prácticamente desapercibido en la gran operación de canje, esta operación se hace gradual en cualquier sistema financiero del mundo, mientras que en el país de Maduro se realizó bajo la excusa de un Operativo excepcional, cuyas transacciones resultan inauditables por la multiplicidad de operaciones. Ante los ojos del mundo entero, camiones repletos de dinero del narcotráfico ingresó al sistema financiero sin ninguna fiscalización! Hoy es el día oficial del lavado.
    Militares, boliburgueses y narcos hicieron su diciembre. Ya los fondos le serán acreditados a sus cuentas y devueltos en dinero de nueva denominación.
    LA ROBOLUCION AVANZA.

  20. wtf!! HAHA, im trying to believe there is an opposition insider advising and fooling the government into making bad decisions. This is pretty weak propaganda, how many other conspiracy theories can they make up next year?

  21. It makes no sense. However, the government just created an excuse to tighten control and surveillance of Venezuelans’ bank accounts. An excuse to confiscate money coming from “remesas”. Suddenly, anyone that has received a deposit that can’t be supported by a receipt is a terrorist that must have taken 100 BsF notes to Colombia and the deposit is the payment. I hope I am not giving ideas to the government …

  22. So, will any of this prevent the use of US dollars (inside the VZ borders) by the black market? Or EURO?

    A 20,000 Bs note is still only $5USD and nobody… NOBODY is going to turn down foreign currency from what I have read.

  23. There is a perfect simple explanation. At madrid airport i can buy and sell 1 $ for 250 vef. and many tourist do since they see on google that 1 $ is 10VEF so if i sell instead at the border i get 4000VEF , then i go to madrid or any other “good” exchange rate place, like the central bank at Colombia and get 16$ , rinse repeat, until i suck all the $ out of Venezuela. it was just like the bachaqueo, buy low sell high. it’s been happening with the petrol food anything. Maduro or Chavez it doesn’t matter. they can’t fight market ecomomic forces. they can’t have different exchange rates unless they have different currencies like in CUBA. this is where Venezuela is headed!

  24. There is a traumatic shortage of bills in Venezuela , specially 100 Bs bills, they make life harder for millions of people who must join enormous queues at banks and money dispensing machines to find them , People blame the govt for it…be it because the rampant inflation created by the govts money printing has created a much greater need for bills or because the govt was improvident in not planning for new emissions of higher denominated notes in time .So the govt must provide an explanation which as usually puts the blame for this collective frustration on their wicked enemies while at the same time provide them with a pretext to tighten control of monetary movements in the country, a new way to fake ‘monetary crimes’ to persecute their political enemies .

    The result this monstrously delusional paranoid concoction of a story , so un believable and fantastic as to deserve the derision of any level headed person who listens to it ……….. There is a saying that each man judges others according to his own ‘condition’ , thus a lady with merectricious leanings will judge all women to have merectricious leanings ……(or so Proust wrote) .

    This bloated conspiranoid story says something about those who made it up and who are now proposing it as an explanation of why there is a shortage of 100Bs Bills in the country , that they think people are stupid enought to believe their crazy story , that people are stupid , which signals that they themselves are credulous and stupid when it comes to lap up crazy stories………stories that are like make believe childrens stories ..filled with wicked ghouls , doing unspeakable things to hurt the regime in ways that defy a normal persons belief…..!!

    Or maybe they dont care wether the story is believable or not …it will be believed by those of their fanatical followers who are desperate to believe whatever the regime says …….and they do have a tendency to magical thinking …to believe what is outlandish and exciting to believe even if rationally incredible !!

  25. NM taking a page of the Cuban Revolutioofn playbook of 1961 (Che G. managing then), but with critical/flawed differences. Cuba had a cash shortage with an estimated 40% of M1 offshore in Batista/cronies bank accounts. Venezuela has a cash shortage due to high triple-digit price inflation, with a highest-denomination bill of only Bs.100 in relatively short supply due to no recent emissions because of unpaid debts to Venezuela’s international currency fabricator. Cuba, with a pop. of 6mm, locally changed over all its currency in 2 days after months of secretly stocking new currency, thereby making the 40% of Batista/cronies offshore deposits worthless. Venezuela, with a pop of 30mm, wants to locally change over the 7 bill or so of Bs. 100 notes, representing 77% of its cash money supply, in 3 days, with probably vastly insufficient new Bs. 100 coins/ Bs. 500/+ bills short-term as replacements, leaving the 30+% of Venezuelans without fallback bank account checks/credit-debit cards with no means of purchase, and in the critical Christmas season.

  26. Funny about delusions …….one of the features of the Chavista mind set is its rampant Conspiranoia and Magical Thinking ………, If something goes wrong then they will make up the most incredible stories to exculpate themselves and inculpate their enemies …….. If they want to take credit for some imaginary achievement then they inflate numbers and invent ‘facts’ that only some UN left wing official can believe…

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