In the past fifteen years over one million Venezuelans have gone into exile.
But as more Venezuelans seek to flee their disintegrating country they are running into an immovable obstacle: the collapse of their currency.
The Venezuelan bolivar has sunk so quickly in value and is burdened with so many exchange restrictions that airlines are beginning to refuse payments in that currency. This means that many Venezuelans are trapped in their collapsing nation because they have no access to dollars or euros.
Many airlines have lost hundreds of millions of dollars because the bolivars collected from Venezuelan passengers are worthless and cannot be exchanged for any other currency.
Now, if you want a real reference point for the meaning of “Bolivarian”– as in “Bolivarian Revolution”– this is it. Consider the value of the bolivar.
Today is the feast of St. Sebastian, patron saint who protects against plague and epidemics. May St. Sebastian plead successfully in the Heavenly Court for an end to the Castronoid plague that is sweeping Latrine America.
From USA Today
Venezuelans blocked from buying flights out
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelans are finding out that their money is no good with one airline, and others may also cut off the country from flights abroad.
Air Europa, a Spanish discount airline, suspended sales of tickets in bolivars, the Venezuelan currency, because Venezuela has not been exchanging the bolivars for U.S. dollars as is customary.
The suspension, which Europa said Friday is “indefinite,” caught some Venezuelans by surprise.
Javier Martinez tried to book a flight this week to Madrid on Air Europa in Caracas, but even though there were plenty of seats available, Air Europa refused to accept his Venezuelan bolivars.
”The reservation people told me that I could buy the ticket in dollars or euros, but not bolivars,” Martinez says. “I’m Venezuelan, and what other money do I have?”
Under Venezuela’s foreign exchange controls, access to dollars is tightly restricted. International airlines serving the country are owed up to $2.6 billion in dollars for bolivars they have turned in to Venezuela’s Cadivi foreign exchange agency.
Air Europa is owed upward of $160 million, it said. A company director will fly to Caracas on Monday to meet with the country’s foreign exchange agency to discuss the problem, the airline said Friday. The company operates its Madrid-Caracas-Madrid route six times a week.
Most other international airlines are taking steps to limit their exposure to Venezuelan bolivars, which aren’t convertible outside the country.
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