Venezuela: the winning country of cashless payment

© AP Photo / Erhan Elaldi/PoolПрезидент of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Archival photoVenezuela: the winning country of cashless payment© AP Photo / Erhan Elaldi/Pool

Venezuelan airport Simon Bolivar, serving the country’s capital Caracas, always in recent years, greeted passengers of international flights by tens of people offering to change currency on arrival. This situation was the result of hard restrictions on the circulation of hard currencies.

Now everything has changed. Change as such is almost there, but to change dollars, you need to have access to local cards with bolivars and change the money by Bank transfer, because the local paper money began in Venezuela deficit.

«This is a very common scheme in which intermediaries earn your interest, just go and change money is almost impossible,» — says the correspondent of RIA Novosti, a local resident Juan Carlos. Of course, there are the official exchange offices, where dollar costs 49 thousand bolivars, but very far from reality.

According to Juan, cash payments are now almost reduced to a minimum. And indeed it is. To pay in cash bolivars for the Park, put some money on cell phone bill and pay for gasoline, which is still a paltry sum of 6 bolivars per liter at the rate of «black» market in 745 thousand bolivars per dollar. It is significant that the taxi driver, which went to the correspondent of RIA Novosti news Agency, even could not exactly be called the cost of gasoline – it simply does not notice.

But the cheapness ends. The cost of a kilogram of chicken meat is 4 million bolivars, a bottle of water at the airport costs 160 thousand bolivars, bread – 300 thousand bolivars. If you convert it into dollars at the exchange rate of the illegal market, the amount is not very large, but keep in mind that the minimum wage in the country with all the social payments is 2.55 million bolivars. The average salary in Caracas — about 50 million bolivars (about 67 dollars), and prices are constantly rising.

One of living in Caracas Russians, told RIA Novosti that in the conditions of hyperinflation that swept the country, the prices often increase not to inflation, and from «oversized», so sometimes they are even higher than the prices in neighbouring countries.

In the fall of 2015, the dollar was in Venezuela on the black market of about 800 bolivars. Now it is almost one thousand times higher. Whereas for a long time the largest Venezuelan bill remained 100 bolivars. Even the exchange rate to change $ 300 meant to get a bag of money now at the rate of 745 thousand it would be too heavy a load in the truest sense of the word.

However, there are new banknotes of 100 thousand bolivars in circulation but very few of them. It is because of this deficit of cash. June 4, Venezuela are waiting for the denomination, when the bills will remove three zeros, and the largest banknote will be 500 sovereign bolivars. Perhaps in this regard the government and not have to spend money on releasing a sufficient amount of cash in bolivars of the old model.

It should be noted that if the 2012 and 2015 prices for some basic products supported by the state at an acceptable level, but now the situation has changed for the worse. Social price is almost gone, and the state of its poor citizens once a month gives a box of food packages at a very nominal price of 25 thousand bolivars. Everything else you need to buy at market price, often for cashless payments.

By the way, the lack of cash led to a very unexpected effect. The local thugs, which are famous favelas of Caracas, have less to Rob, told Juan Carlos. «People have money in cash anyway, so looting has become a little less» — he said. On the other hand, now Rob to take money or phone, but sometimes even for clothes.

The lack of cash is felt even in the Parking lots at markets. If before the attendants, to help accommodate a car, got some money, now most often with them paying products pair of apples, bananas or other agricultural products.

The government’s attempts to take control of the dollar, setting it to a fixed rate, luck can not be named. President Nicolas Maduro did not recognize the course of the «black» market and site Dolar Today, tracking of illegal quotes blocked. However, even shopping system the Duty Free in the airport of Caracas, working at a rate close to the black market, namely 731 thousand bolivars. All the troubles of the economy Maduro blames the economic mafia, operating from the territory of Colombia, allegedly under the leadership of the United States. The President has already promised the citizens that in case of his re-election in the elections on 20 may will bring prosperity to everyone.

The approaching elections in Caracas seen hung on advertising (mostly of the same Maduro) and rally supporters of the President. The experts that talked to the correspondent of RIA Novosti, tend to believe that Maduro really win with high probability. However, it is not only in the Maduro, and the disunity and weakness of the current opposition. The largest coalition of opposition parties the «Roundtable of democratic unity» has refused to participate in the upcoming elections, but still registered opposition ENRI Falcon does not enjoy much support among the opponents of the current government.

In the district of baruta, known for its oppositional sentiment, many are simply not going to vote, although in 2013 the last presidential election at polling stations lined up in long queues. «The first time I will not vote, because it is simply not for anyone,» admitted to the correspondent of RIA Novosti, a local resident and consistent supporter of the opposition Claudia. Such as Claudia, a very large percentage among opponents of Maduro.