Venezuela will start issuing five new bills on December 15th (one day before vacation begins here). My friends and I spent most of the afternoon talking about the implications of the larger denomination bills being printed. They are saying that 100 bolivar bills (currently the largest denomination worth about 2 cents) will need to be traded in for new bills or spent within the next 72 hours. This seems kind of simple: take your old bills to the bank and then get new bills. Except this is Venezuela.
Every time I’ve been to the bank I’ve had to wait for at least an hour to do any transaction. In the five years that I’ve been here, I have only ever been able to successfully use an ATM on four occasions (they are almost always out of cash or offline). Because of this, I try to do most of my transactions in cash. Now I have soon-to-be-obsolete bills on hand and I need to do something about it.
Hyperinflation has arrived in Venezuela. The currency has lost more than HALF of its value in November alone. Currently, we are all feeling kind of lost and unsure of what must be done. It seems like it is not a good idea to have cash bolivares on hand. As far as I can tell our options are: take the bolivares to the bank to be deposited (I don’t know how to do this), buy non-perishable goods, donate it, or use it for an art project.
If Venezuela is going to follow in Zimbabwe’s footsteps then having non-perishable goods will be essential if I need to start bartering. I’m not sure if I am being ridiculous or not. Apparently, people are weighing the piles of money in grocery stores. Nothing seems too farfetched.
I will be going to Cuba this Saturday for three weeks and I’m not sure what Venezuela will look like when I get back. Wish me luck.
Update 12/12 at 12:38PM: Our bank accounts with Bancaribe (the one the school set up for teachers) are showing $0.00 bolivares! I had enough cash to last me a month in there last night!!
Please comment: have you lived in a country with hyperinflation? What is the best way to deal with this situation?