Yesterday, I did something counterintuitive: I withdrew Bs.100 bills from an ATM machine. I couldn’t help myself: it’d been so long since I’d seen one of those without a soul-destroying line in front of it, I just had to go for it.

I should have thought this through.

Since the government announced that the Bs.100 banknote would be taken out of circulation in a mere 72 hours, the demand for the bills plummeted, and everything went extra-nuts. While people are looking for ways to get rid of them as soon as possible, many businesses have stopped accepting them altogether.

I guess I knew that…but that ATM was so sexy without lines. So first-world. You could just walk right up there and take your money out without waiting for two hours. INSERTE SU TARJETA, beckoned the screen. It was waiting for me.

As I walked off, I overheard an older guy in the neighboring ATM his wad of soon-to-be-useless Bs. 100 bills in hand, saying “Nojoda, 100? Aren’t these the ones they’re telling us to return to the bank? I just spent all morning trying to deposit mine, and now the ATM is returning them to me? El coñoesumadre!”

But that didn’t stop me, I wish it did, but… INSERTE SU TARJETA.

Now, what do I do with all this money?

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  1. Where I have my coffee in the morning, there is a Bicentenario ATM about 4 meters away. This machine sometimes dispenses cash, but more often it is all out of bills to dispense. As I sip my coffee, I watch person after person, insert their cards to find out for themselves. Sometimes, I try to tell them, but they usually ignore my advice and go through the motions anyway. What can you do? Why do they not program an announcement on the introductory screen that says the ATM is out of cash? I used to wonder about these things. Now, my reaction is a usually to just dismiss it with a casual shrug and say “Venezuela…”


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