The Libertador municipality in Caracas has launched a new currency called Caribe. The new currency is one of a few that have been introduced in recent months. Venezuela has the Bolivar as its official currency but some cities and towns have decided to create their own to combat the cash shortages and inflation.
The municipality along with other organizations and officials recently introduced the new bills, which will only be available in that area. Bills of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Caribes have been printed.
Each Caribe is worth Bs. 1,000 but the currency will only be accepted in markets and events organized by the municipality, according to the mayor. She added that the population will be able to exchange Bolivars to Caribes.
The launch of new currencies has become more and more common in recent months. At least two other towns have done the same and the idea could spread as the cash shortage continues. Venezuela has had a cash shortage for years, despite the government introducing new bills.
The cash shortage has forced businesses and customers to look for solutions. Transfers are common since it is difficult to get cash at ATMs. The ATMs also have a small daily limit, which means Venezuelans can’t enough cash even if they found an ATM that has bills.
The cash shortage and inflation has forced these towns to introduce the new bills, which are available only in those areas. The bills introduced in recent months are all different from the Bolivars.
Venezuela’s inflation has also made its official currency nearly worthless. Black market exchange sites currently have a US dollar at Bs. 483732.70. This means that the minimum salary is less than $3. In recent years, the government has introduced new and higher bills but those lost value before they were even available in the country.
Just a few weeks ago, the Venezuelan government removed three zeros off the currency and introduced new bills once again. Experts have criticized the decision to remove the zeros and launch new bills, saying this does not solve anything. Some experts have also criticized the launch of the new currencies, saying that only the Central Bank can create new money.
The Venezuelan government has also launched a cryptocurrency called Petro. Experts say this is just an attempt by the government to get around the international sanctions. President Nicolas Maduro claimed that the petro had raised $735 million in its first day on sale but experts have doubts about those numbers since the government didn’t present any evidence.