Well, never mind about turning in those worthless bills.
12/17 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela Extends Use of 100-Bolivar Note to Jan. 2 – Since the large denomination replacement bills are not ready, the government graciously and on spur-of-the-moment decided to let people have until January 2 to turn in all their 100 Bolivar notes, each of which is worth about three US cents. By government dictat, the 100 bills will be valid until 1/2/17.
12/19 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela Deploys Troops After Weekend Riots – Looting is spreading. Government sent 3,000 soldiers to the state of Bolivar after looting there.
12/30 – Associated Press at Wall Street Journal – Venezuela’s President Once Again Extends 100-Bolivar Note’s Deadline – Deadline to turn in all 100 Bolivar bills before they become null and void has been extended a second time. Venezuelan citizens have until January 20 to turn in all the old bills.
The problem? The higher denomination bills are still not ready for distribution.
12/25 – New York Times – No Food, No Medicine, No Respite: A Starving Boy’s Death in Venezuela – Focus of the article is not on surgeons who operate on bloodied tables because there is not enough water to wash it off, let alone enough sterilizing solution to make it clean. Neither is the focus on psychiatric hospitals where the lack of medicine’s forces the staff to tie psychiatric patients to their chairs.
That’s the state of medicine in Venezuela, but instead the article focuses on the death of one 16-year-old young man.
The mom’s boyfriend, main breadwinner for the family, lost his job because the owner of the concrete company could not find any concrete mix. The family finally ran out of money. Not stretched, as in having to choose between food and pay the electric bill. No, they had no money. As a result they had to scavenge for mangoes. When they could no longer afford a bus ride to scavenge for mangoes, they scavenge for yucca. You have to thoroughly dry yucca before you eat it or the toxins can kill you.
The family had not eaten for three days so they had no choice but to try the yucca. By evening everyone was sick, but the son was worst off. Took a while to find a neighbor who had a car that was working to take him to the hospital.
Treatment for yucca poisoning is intravenous solutions and a certain medicine. The hospital had neither.
Ponder that again. The hospital did not have the basic medicine to treat simple poisoning.
By the next morning the young man was dead.
The only reference, the only hint, of what caused this horrible situation is one reference to an economic crisis that has been affecting the family for several months. There is also one reference to ailments that have hit the country this year.
No mention of currency controls. No mention of price controls. No mention of allocation of scarce foreign currency to favored friends of the government. No mention of government taking businesses away from their owners and turning the companies over to the military to run. No mention of closing the border. No mention of why there isn’t enough water or electricity to function.
No mention of socialism at all.
Yet that is the cause of this young man’s death. And the cause of many other deaths. And the cause of surgeons operating on bloody tables. And the cause of mentally ill patients being tied to their chairs because that is the only way to protect them. And the cause of all the other suffering you read about in Venezuela.