Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Declaring war on common sense, Venezuela bans its own money

If this story sounds outlandish to you, spare a thought for the people of Venezuela, who sat stunned on Tuesday as the powerful interior minister, Nestor Reverol, announced this bizarre, baseless conspiracy theory as settled fact.

Reverol’s reverie was far from innocent. PowerPoint presentation in hand, he set out his story to justify the government’s cunning plan to short-circuit the threat by removing the 100-bolivar bill from circulation altogether, within 72 hours.

The announcement set off panic, as millions of people scrambled to round up their 100-bolivar bills and deposit them in bank accounts ahead of the arbitrary deadline. Everyday life — already disastrously precarious for many — was thrown into complete disarray as everyone from bus drivers to shop owners refused to accept the bills, realizing that there’s no point accumulating banknotes that will be worth nothing by the end of the week ....