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Venezuela delays demonetisation amid protests, looting

By Newsd
Updated on :

Venezuela government on Saturday extended the use of its 100-Bolivar bill until January 2, after its decision to demonetise the largest bill left the country to cash shortage, and sparked protests and looting.

President Nicolas Maduro said the decision was pulled out because the promised higher-denomination were still unavailable because of a sabotage campaign by enemies abroad.

“One plane, contracted and paid for by Venezuela, was told in flight to change direction and go to another country,” he said, without specifying who had given the orders.

The sudden move of demonetisation announced in last week left the majority of people without enough money for food, gasoline and Christmas celebration amid the highest inflation.

Similar to the situation in India, citizens were forced to stand in long serpentine queues to exchange the old notes. About 40 percent of Venezuelans do not have a bank account.

Many shops were closed due to cash shortage and the people protested against the move across the country.

The angry protesters looted the shops and blocked the public roads. Authorities said there were protests and looting on Friday and early Saturday in at least six cities.

Government blamed opposition parties and mafias for the violent protests.

Maduro extended the closure of border with Columbia and Brazil until January 2 to thwart mafias who hoard bolivars.

Venezuelan government demonetised the nation’s higher denomination notes shortly to beat mafia hoardings. Critics mocked the notion that gangsters would choose to keep their wealth in the world’s fastest-devaluing currency. The 100-bolivar bill is worth little more than 2 cents.