By Andrew Follett
Venezuela’s money is so worthless, shopkeepers have reportedly taken to weighing it instead of counting it out.
Venezuelans can’t fit enough money to buy goods into their wallets, so they stuff bundles of cash into bags that are weighed by shopkeepers.
Humberto Gonzalez, who runs a delicatessen in the country, uses the same scales to weigh cheese.
“It’s sad,“ Gonzalez told Bloomberg. ”At this point, I think the cheese is worth more.”
Venezuela’s inflation rate is at more than 808 percent, according to Forbes, and the country’s economic czar doesn’t even believe in inflation. Venezuela is essentially bankrupt and faces massive shortages of food and products. To make things even worse, the nation is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt countries on Earth and may have the world’s highest murder rate.
Venezuela has some of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) — but this hasn’t stopped the energy problems. Venezuela was even forced by its failing economy to accept shipments of American crude oil in February.
Venezuela’s socialist government was defeated in legislative elections for the first time in 17 years last December, but the country’s socialist-stacked Supreme Court attempted to invalidate the election. The country’s government is extremely divided, but the president remains committed to socialist economic policies.
The country is also plagued by a power crisis. Venezuela suffers rolling blackouts that can last for days since its socialist government took power in 2002. Independent analysis suggests the blackouts are causing serious economic damage to a country that is already on the verge of complete financial breakdown.
“We have to understand, this is a war,” Luis Motta, Venezuela’s minister of electricity, declared in an interview on state television in March. Venezuela’s socialist president even gave the entire country a week off to reduce stress on the power grid caused by a government-created electricity crisis this summer. The government also set the nation’s clocks back by an hour and ordered women to stop blow-drying their hair to save power.
The government rationed electricity across the country for most of this year, as the hydroelectric-reliant country goes through a drought. The ruling socialist party blames the lack of water on global warming and “sabotage” by political foes, while critics and international officals cite a lack of maintenance and poor planning.
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