When Hugo Chávez restricted foreign currency transactions in Venezuela, his daughter Rosinés was 5 years. She’s now 14. A decade since, Venezuelan people lives under a strict exchange monetary control which not only freezes the local currency value but also the amount of non Venezuelan money they can buy. Five devaluations have been made during all that time.
Last depreciation occurred in 2010. It was an extravagant monetary transaction in which the bolivar was renamed as 'strong bolivar'. This disguised devaluation consisted in the subtraction of three zeros from the nominal value of the currency.
2.500 Bolivares equals 2.5 “Strong Bolivares”. This is just one example of government's attempts in order to makeup the runaway inflation. Indeed, since 2005 prices in Venezuela have increased over 160%.
The legal authorized amount of dollars one citizen can purchase at official price (in the parallel market its value usually get doubles) is 2500 (per year) for traveling and 400 for online shopping. That’s the reality: for a whole year, 2.900 dollars. No more.
To apply for the legal amount is necessary to explain to the Administration Commission (Cadivi) whats the money final purpose. Depending on whether is a trip, a student assignment abroad or for commercial imports. Only the first request (travel) must be completed trough a 14-step process where. Its instructions are described in a 194-page manual.
Request the money does not guarantee its approval. Thousands of Venezuelan citizens are forced to buy dollars on the black market. The official exchange for Venezuelans bolivars is 4.30 per dollar. In the black market this value reaches 9 bolivars.
There are different values according to an official classification distributed as follows: a change of 2.60 bolivars intended for those priority sectors such as food, health, remittances and public sector imports, and 4.30 bolivars to the rest.Buy dollars is forbidden in Venezuela. Is just not possible. In no bank. Much less in exchange houses (they were raided and closed).
By law, is punishable acquire foreign currency by any other mechanism than those imposed by Cadivi, unless you have a foreign account or be willing to pay double (for something that legally belongs). Most Venezuelans choose the second option, which also explains why in Venezuela everything costs double or triple.
Importing products is vital for oil-based economies. That's why traders are forced to buy their goods in dollars or in its reference value. The right to buy at official rate is often denied, so much people must resort to the parallel exchange, which by the way is fluctuant. Local Sales must be made according to bolivar's value.
If I buy a candy bar for a dollar (official change rate) its value would reach 4.30 bolivars. But... if that same chocolate is imported under the parallel market exchange, the price will be 9 bolivars. We could repeat this with any other thing and could seem fake or even worse: absurd.
When Hugo Chavez triggered the exchange control in 2003, his youngest daughter Rosinés Chavez was five. Today she is 14 and becomes famous. But not for the anecdotes about their pets once told his father, but for something really serious. The president's daughter posted on the Internet a photo of his face is covered with a range of dollars. The gesture is almost obscene.
We could justify her stupidity. It's a teenager. However ... When photographed herself, imagined the Chavez youngest daughter that to have access to the same amount of money ordinary citizens are forced to make almost soviet procedures (of which she is exempted)?
No, maybe she does not know. She just fans herself. That's it. Fans herself with a bunch of dollars.