The Venezuelan Bolívar has become so worthless that artisans now imbue it with a sense of value by using it to make purses.
According to MiamiHerald, Venezuela’s national legal tender is so worthless that the minimum wage is far lower than the price of Coca-Cola.
As such, artisans have taken to turning the colorful Bolívar bills into a purse than to spend them on a purse — or on anything else.
The Bolívar Alvaro Rivera and other artisans in one Colombian town along the Venezuelan border are using the once mighty Bolívar as raw material to make handbags, bird sculptures and other intriguing objects.
The largest handbag Rivera sells on the streets of Cucuta is painstakingly woven from 1,000 individual bills totaling 100,000 Bolívares. The value of that cash at money exchange houses in Cucuta is 17 cents.
The bag, on the other hand, sells for $13. “The price of the work has nothing to do with how many bills I use,” Rivera said. “What I’m selling is the art.”
Venezuela’s economic collapse has been so deep that it plays out in ways that defy the imagination. The Central Bank has stopped publishing most economic data, but Venezuela’s congress says annual inflation hit 24,600% in May.
Consequently, as prices of goods and commodities have soared, wages and the currency haven’t kept pace. While goods in dollar terms are cheap in Venezuela, those earning Bolívares can no longer afford the basics.
To feed a family of five for a month costs 20 times the monthly minimum wage. The crisis is forcing millions of people to flee the country, often to neighboring Colombia, to escape hunger and get their hands on any currency other than the Bolívar.