Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019

Venezuela's currency is worth so little that locals now WEAVE goods out of it

Venezuela's currency is worth so little that locals now WEAVE goods out of it
12 Feb

Street vendors in Venezuela are weaving baskets from banknotes after 13,000 per cent inflation rendered them practically worthless.

Inflation in the oil-rich Latin American nation has seen the economy spiral out of control, with its currency the Bolivar losing 87 per cent of its value against the euro.

Cash is worth so little there bank notes are often seen littered on the streets.

But street seller Wilmer Rojas has found a use for them.

The 25-year-old is selling origami-style handbags, purses, hats and baskets - all made out of money.

Mr Rojas, a father-of-three, said: 'People throw them away because they are no good to buy anything.

'No one even accepts them anymore.

'You can use magazine paper or newspaper pulp, but currency notes are better because they are not worth anything, they are all the same size and you don't have to waste time cutting them.

'These things are no good for buying anything. At least I am putting them to good use rather than throwing them away.'

With two, five and 10 bolivar notes 'you can't even buy a piece of candy', he added.

A bank note hat can require hundreds of bolivars, but is only worth the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

Some of the woven creations sell for 300,000 bolivars - enough to buy a kilo of meat.

Jose Leon, a 26-year-old designer, draws the faces of Star Wars characters over the image of Simon Bolivar and other famous Venezuelans pictured on the notes.

Foreign customers pay him up to £14 ($20) for each piece of 'money art', which he said increases the note's value by nearly 5,000 per cent.

Thousands of desperate Venezuelans are currently trying to enter Colombia in a bid to escape the hunger and soaring crime rate caused by the economic crisis.

Incredible pictures show the mass exodus of refugees crossing the Simon Bolivar international bridge trying to flee the political crisis threatening to engulf the country.

Colombia - along with its neighbour Brazil - has sent extra soldiers to patrol their porous border after officially taking in more than half a million migrants over the last six months of 2017.

The country is also tightening its border controls in a bid to stem the flow.

Venezuela is due to head to the polls to elect its President in April 22.

Hugo Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro is running for a second six-year term, while the opposition is yet to elect a candidate.