There is a shortage of many things in Venezuela, toilet paper, sugar, tea, coffee, even beer is in short supply. A great many Venezuelans travel to nearby islands such as Aruba, Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago to buy items that are in short supply to take back over either for themselves or to sell. A lot of them also fly over with the purpose to either buy or withdraw US dollars from the ATMs.
This was posted online yesterday: OVERRUN BY VENEZUELAN VISITORS. If you visited the supermarket in the past few days you saw the long lines of Venezuelan visitors buying cases of beer which they in turn intend to sell to bar owners at a discount, so that they can get their hands on some green-back cash. I see them waiting patiently for pick ups, leaning tiredly on their loaded carts. Who picks them up? Where do they go to sell the beer? My friends at the market report they moved 400 cases in two days. Balashi must be pleased. The supermarket must be pleased with increased sales. The bar owners must be pleased with the savings. The Venezuelan visitors must be pleased, as they convert their plastic to cash. The airlines must be pleased with 2,000 seats from Venezuela occupied, day in, day out. The airport must be pleased, imagine how much Departure Tax it is collecting?! So why am I so unhappy? I am unhappy because the whole thing is wrong. It is against the law to buy or sell or transport or lodge without appropriate permits. It ruins our peaceful, law-abiding character. The whole phenomenon of visitors hanging in parks, lingering on benches, and charging their phones under trees junks up our tourist product, and disrupts the island’s Good Orderly Direction! I even heard that these same Venezuelan entrepreneurs try to sell their discounted beer to other tourists on our beaches. On the other hand I feel their hardship and the humiliation suffered, I am sorry for their heartache and I am wondering if indeed it is correct that people always get the government they deserve. Do the Venezuelans deserve that?
Earlier in the year I saw on the spanish news channel that their brand beer "Polar" was cutting down on production and distribution. So some are probably bringing beer back home to consume and sell for a profit and then there are those who are turning it into cash in Aruba.
Thanks for posting this article, ace2063. It's very interesting, the situation in Venezuela is crazy! No wonder, so many people there are getting crazy, too!
Here is just a small excerpt, the article gives many examples how devastating and chaotic the situation is:
The other day, Jaime Bello, an airline mechanic, visited his bank, the government-run Banco del Tesoro, only to find that its three cash machines were out of money. He recalled an earlier visit when he went to withdraw 2,000 bolívars and stood listening to the whirring sound as the machine spit out a great stack of 5-bolívar notes, each worth less than an American penny. He pulled out the stack of 200 bills and then waited while the machine counted out 200 more.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “We’re living a nightmare. There’s nothing to buy, and the money isn’t worth anything.”
The crisis has also meant opportunity for those willing to stand in long lines to buy cheap government-regulated goods that they can resell at a profit.
“I said to myself, ‘I can make more doing this,’ and I quit my job at the hair salon,” said Geraldine Cassiani, who left her job as a manicurist in February for a career on the black market. She said she now earned four to five times what she had before.
It's all just very sad.....I fell for the Venezuelan people and understand their need to buy beer to take back and resell. I just hope that there is no problem with harassing....i would hate to see that on Aruba. Tourism would surely suffer for it.
Maybe the gov't needs to step in and manage it.
The minimum wage is 7,421 bolívars a month. That is either a decent $1,178 a month or a miserable $10.60.
Either way, it does not go far enough. According to the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers, a month’s worth of food for a family of five cost 50,625 bolívars in August, more than six times the minimum monthly wage and more than three times what it cost in the same month a year earlier.
Dinner for two at one of this city’s better restaurants can cost 30,000 bolívars. That is $42.85 at the black-market rate or $4,762 at the official exchange rate.
Yes and even though the supplies are low, they can always get supplies from Black Markets but you need American Dollars for that. So I can understand their purpose to go to Aruba to come back with cash. It's not right but i know why they are doing it.
I took a trip to Venezuela 25 years ago to vacation in Margarita Island. Things were bad then but worst today. Still they had a lot problems back then with their currency fluctuating daily. As soon as I landed in Caracas, everybody was approaching me telling me they buy dollars and offering me these crazy exchange rates which would have given me a lot of buying power there except there was always the risk that the money would be worthless the next day. I politely kept declining. They would even follow me to the bathroom asking me if I wanted to exchange. I remember thinking then, what the hell did i get myself into coming here. I had a 5 hour lay over in Caracas to take a small plane for a 20 minute flight to Margarita Island but I was told to stay in the airport and not to go out for lunch or drinks in Caracas. Too dangerous! So I stayed put.
At the resort in Margarita Island, I met a nice lady who operated a mini market which she owned. She would go into town and get me whatever supplies I needed whether it was beer, cold cuts etc. She also offerred to buy American Dollars from me several times and I declined but would pay for my purchases with US dollars. She explained to me that to own a business there, in order to restock supplies, you needed American dollars. The business owners who pays for supplies with US dollars, gets first preference over someone with Boliva currency. Now this was 25 years ago imagine today!
The lady at the mini market introduced me to her husband who was unemployed so she suggested I hire him as a tour guy. I knew he was no tour guide and she was just trying to make a buck like everybody else there. However, I did want to go to the down town area and her husband mentioned that he would also serve as a body guard as well. So off we went and did a tour around the island and when we went downtown to the shopping area, forget it, people were hounding me, jumping in my face asking me to sell them American dollars. He would block them from approaching me like I was a celebrity and tell them to back off. My tour guide was 6"5 Cuban, Blond Hair, built and reminded me of Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV who played the Russian Boxer Drago. LOL I was like he wasn't kidding when he said he would be my body guard. If i had went downtown by myself by taking a cab which was my original idea, who knows what could of happened. It was better to pay him the $75 to drive me around the whole day and protect me.
At the end of my stay, I owed the hotel $200 which was all that I had and I did not want to use a credit card. So I asked the lady at the mini store if she still wanted to buy American money and what kind of exchange she would give me. She was happy and gave me $250 worth of their money which covered the hotel, cab ride to airport, lunch and even some souevenirs at the airport.
So things were very bad then 25 years ago and now even worst. To think that they are sitting on one of the worlds richest petroleum and they are a very poor country. Well the people are poor and the government fills their pockets.