CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela is overhauling its foreign currency system and will now administer scarce dollars with a multi-tiered exchange system.
As part of the changes announced Wednesday by Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelans traveling abroad will no longer be able to purchase air tickets or obtain cash at the official 6.3 bolivars per dollar rate.
That "preferential" rate will now be reserved for state-run companies and targeted needs specified by the government.
Ramirez says "The big discussion here is whether we give dollars to travelers or we import food."
Travelers will now use the exchange rate established at weekly auctions, where the greenback currently fetches about 11 bolivars. Ramirez says those auctions will be expanded to $220 million a week to meet the dollar demands of the private sector.