It’s come to this, I suppose, in a country in which residents wake up in the morning not knowing whether they’ll have access to flour, rice, toilet paper, electricity, or even drinking water.
While prostitution is completely legal in Venezuela, the socialist government running the whole farcical show has worked strenuously to try and prevent the sort of relatively lucrative black-market exchanges to which the country’s prostitutes are privy. The government has been jailing traders and shutting down brokerages in an effort to staunch the rise of the runaway unofficial exchange rate since Chavez began controlling the bolivar’s price over a decade ago — but to no avail. Read on for a horribly disheartening article on the brand of economics currently governing many Venezuelans’ desperate, survival-mode behavior from Bloomberg:
The arrival of a Liberian-flagged freighter with Ukrainian, Arab and Filipino sailors spells one thing for Elena — dollars. And greenbacks are king in Venezuela, the 32-year-old prostitute says.
Within hours of hearing of the ship’s imminent arrival, she has packed her bags and is heading to the crumbling city of Puerto Cabello. It is a 450-kilometer (280-mile) journey from her home in the Western state of Zulia that Elena finds herself doing more often now as Venezuela’s economy contracts, the bolivar slumps and prices soar.
Prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders in Puerto Cabello. They are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime — and prostitution isn’t. Greenbacks in the black market are worth 11 times more than the official rate as dollars become more scarce in an economy that imports 70 percent of the goods it consumes. …
The dollar shortage is turning Venezuela into a two-tier society similar to the Soviet Union and Cuba, said Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Those with access to dollars such as prostitutes, tour agents, airport taxi drivers and expatriates are able to shield themselves from inflation by trading their greenbacks at ever higher rates. Those who can’t are seeing their living standards decline.
In a country where prostitution is legal, it is the black market in dollars that Maduro has called “perverse,” saying it was designed by the bourgeoisie to destroy his Socialist government.
Ah, yes — the “perverse” economic war being waged against the ever-victimized President Maduro by his political opposition, greedy conniving businessmen, and nefarious foreign powers all in cahoots with one another and out to get him… which mysteriously just keeps getting worse the more control Maduro tries to exert over it. Funny how that happens, eh?