Maduro announced today that, effective June 4, a new currency will circulate in Venezuela. The name of the new currency is the Bolivar Soberano [Sovereign Bolivar], and will begin circulation with three fewer zeroes.
Maduro made the surprise announcement during a televised address in which he said:
Starting on June 4 we are going to de-monetize all of the currency in the country [sic]. What do you think about that?
Calling the change “a structural and definitive solution to give stability to the country”, Maduro stressed that every bill in circulation today would have no value starting on June 4.
The Bolivar Soberano will begin to circulate in the following paper denominations: 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, and 500. Two coins worth 1 and 50 cents are also scheduled to roll out as part of the new currency.
The Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) released a shot video clip in an attempt to explain the currency change through its Twitter account, which you can see below along with my translation:
Narrator: The monetary conversion is the total modification of the currency currently in circulation. This implies a change in the currency scale, and everything that is expressed in Bolivares. By eliminating three zeroes, transactions are simplified and payments are facilitated.
The BCV also released a set of images showing the new bills, which you can see below:
The last time that the Venezuelan government introduced a new set of currency was in 2008, when Hugo Chavez similarly ordered three zeroes dropped from the currency in circulation then. That year, the Bolivar Fuerte (Strong Bolivar) replaced the Bolivar. However, for the sake of simplicity, most Venezuelans still referred to the Bolivar Fuerte simply as Bolivar.
Petare Residents Protest Over Lack of Food
Last night, residents from the Petare neighbourhood of Caracas staged an impromptu protest after a shipment of subsidized food arrived incomplete, leaving the neighbours without desperately-needed sustenance. The shipment arrived in the area as part of the regime’s CLAP program, which sells boxes containing basic food items at subsidized prices.
According to El Nacional, the CLAP boxes arrived in the Jose Felix Ribas neighbourhood of Petare in the late afternoon. Once residents began to receive the boxes, they noticed that they were missing some of the most basic necessities, including cooking oil and rice.
Reports of the protest began to surface on Twitter in the late afternoon. Below, an image showing a large group of residents of the Jose Felix Ribas area of Petare congregating on a street:
In the video below, an increasingly discontent crowd shouts complaints as a woman, apparently speaking through a megaphone, lists a series of grievances about the poor quality of the CLAP boxes:
By approximately 10:30 PM, National Guard soldiers entered the Jose Feliz Ribas of Petare in a large motorcycle convoy:
The Maduro regime launched the CLAP subsidized food system in April of 2016 in response to chronic shortages of food and other basic necessities. The regime reasoned that cutting out the middle-man (i.e., supermarket chains) would allow more food to reach the homes of more Venezuelans.
The CLAP system has come under a substantial amount of scrutiny since its launch, not only because of the dangerously poor quality of its products or the sparse delivery schedule, but also because of the mounting evidence that the regime uses the boxes as a way to extort political support out of Venezuela’s most marginalized peoples.
Venezuelans Made Up 33% of All Asylum Requests in Spain in 2017
A Spanish NGO revealed today that the number of Venezuelans requesting asylum in the country tripled in 2017 from 2016, jumping to a total of 10,350 requests at the end of last year. The figure represents approximately one third of all asylum requests made in Spain last year.
According to the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado [Spanish Refugee Assistance Commission] (CEAR), Venezuelans made up the single largest asylum request nationality, followed in second place by Syrians with 4,225 requests and Colombians with 2,460 requests.
Out of the 10,350 asylum requests made by Venezuelans in 2017, 1,530 were denied, CEAR said, while another 13,425 have yet to be resolved.
Given the shared language, Spain has become a popular destination for Venezuelans looking to escape the social and economic collapse in their country.
Miss Venezuela Closes Its Doors
The Miss Venezuela Organization officially ceased all operations yesterday following a series of allegations regarding the way in which the company operates. The latest allegations came from former Miss Venezuela Annarella Bono, who claimed in televised comments yesterday that–among other things–the organization was prostituting hopeful beauty queens to members of the Maduro regime.
A press release from the organization issued yesterday states:
The decision has been made to begin an internal review to determine whether [employees] have, during the conduct of their duties, taken part in activities that are contrary to the values and ethics of the organization.
The closure of Miss Venezuela’s doors came a shock to the country, which has historically prided itself in its performance at international beauty pageants. Venezuelan beauty queens have won the Miss World pageant six times, and Miss Universe seven times.
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