Logbook to a disease. Payments

Because of the issues with the currency, paying for anything in the country is an ordeal worthy of the most profound economic analysis. When things are offered in Vanished Bolivars, but the actual, physical bill does not exist in sufficient amounts to be actually seen in the streets, how do you pay? The most ridiculous of solutions have been found by the children of Bolivar, a man whose name should be removed from all national monuments to spare him even more embarrassment.

Examples. At a gas station, there are a number of goodies to be bought, but all are quoted in dollars. If you want to pay in that currency, you can use dollar bills, but you will not get change, neither in greenbacks or in the converted amount in Bolivares (because, remember, the actual bills are very hard to come by). So then you can pay with debit cards, but almost nobody has money in their accounts; because of over 40 years of continuous devaluation, people are still afraid of having Bolivares so those get spent way too fast. Eventually, the preferred way to keep your bank account in Bolivares is to keep it as close to zero as possible. So, in order to pay, multiple apps have been created so that people can pay. But here is the catch: the apps work in bolivares but rather transfer money to the other accounts, the one of the payees. So, you use the app, you pay for your stuff and then you have to wait for confirmation, either via SMS or e-mail. The culture of distrust is too embedded in the Venezuelan psyche, that even though all this has been done electronically (the payment) you only get you goods after the money is in the account.

Or you can pay with the Venezuelan cyber currency, The Petro. Named as an abbreviation of the nations sole product of value (petroleum), the petro is actually not a bad cyber currency, when compared to others. It is pegged to the price of oil and has the underlying security that it is the nation’s oil reserves that back it up (do you understand that, bitcoin?) but the one thing that the idiots of the nation do not understand is this: if you peg the Petro to the value of oil, then in reality what you are using is the dollar, as Venezuelan oil is quoted in dollars. There is zero sovereignty to the currency, and it is simply a transformation act as, for you to have Petros, you need to buy them, and in order to buy them, you need to pay them in dollars. Layers of complications add to the ridiculous act of buying something in Venezuela.

On and on it goes. People carry no cash, everything is done via an app, and a pastiche of modernity and primitiveness rules the day-to-day activities of the people. People in buses need to source $1 bills, it is impossible to tip somebody, and if you do not have access to modernity, you do not exist financially in the country. Another way in which the country slowly belittles you.