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CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelans are standing in long ATM lines to take out new, larger-denominated bills that President Nicolas Maduro hopes will help stabilize the crisis-wracked economy.
Maduro last month said he was scrapping circulation of the most-used 100-bolivar note and replacing it with new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars.
Residents in Caracas expressed shock at seeing bills with so many zeros. But triple-digit inflation has destroyed many families' purchasing power and even the largest of the new bills is worth less than $6 on the black market.
Also on Monday, the government plans to inaugurate special foreign exchange houses near the border to stamp out the black market and attract badly needed hard currency from Colombian shoppers who frequently cross into Venezuela for bargain-hunting.