President Maduro ordered on Sunday, December 11, that the 100Bs bill, the highest denomination bill in Venezuela, be taken out of circulation within 72 hours. The reason behind the measure is a complicated conspiracy theory which involves the US Department of Treasury, the Colombian government, “Money Mafias” operating in the Colombia-Venezuelan border, unnamed NGOs, and the local opposition.
Here are some of the explanations of this conspiracy as given by government officials and the State media apparatus.
The Popular Power Minister for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Mayor General Néstor Reverol Torres, has been put by President Maduro in charge of the “money exchange” operation involving the 100bs bills. He explained that the US Department of Treasury has hired local NGOs to “extract” Venezuelan money in order to destabilize its economy.
Reverol quotes from research which, according to him, shows that “huge amounts of cash” has been taken out from the country with the aim of “draining all the circulating money and suffocating the national financial system.” The local NGOs (funded by the Treasury Department) hire local criminal gangs that take out the 100Bs bills through Colombia. These bills end up in storage facilities in Europe. Switzerland, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic are some of the countries in which, according to Reverol, these money stockpiles have been detected.
The Minister also explained that this same conspiracy has been active before against countries such as Libya and Iraq, “in order to bring down their governments through a non-conventional war. The [the conspirators] call it the Redemption Operation.” News outlet Telesur backs this claim by entitling their report in English on the issue “Currency War in Venezuela Also Used Against Iraq and Libya.”
The conspirators seem willing to take on huge losses in order to destabilize the Venezuelan economy. Reverol said that there is an agreement between the local NGOs and the conspirators that, once the Venezuelan government is toppled, “for every 100Bs bill they [the NGOs] take out, they [the conspirators] give them [between] 80 dollars cents to 1,30$.” Individual citizens get payed less, according to Reverol, “for each 100Bs. bill they take to Colombia, they are deposited in their accounts 120Bs. This is also part of the destabilization plan.”
The conspirators however are able to cut losses by turning the 100bs bills into counterfeit dollar bills. This is possible, according to the government, because of the high quality and durability of Venezuela’s paper money.
The chief of the pro-government block in the National Assembly, PSUV deputy, Hector Rodríguez, has congratulated the President for the measure and claimed that already today (December 12) “we are witnessing the fall of the big mafias.” He also said that “the people have complete knowledge of how these cash mafias operate and how they affect the economy, and of the need to take measures in order to defend the people against sectors of the right who are waging this economic war.”
President Maduro also announced that the Venezuelan-Colombian border will remain closed for the next 72 hours (since December 12), in order to avoid what he said are the “repatriation” of cash attempts by the mafias. “These mafias have all gone like crazy. Just this morning, in the early hours, we captured 64 million bolivars coming into the country by back roads; this is why I have decided to again close the frontier with Colombia for 72 hours.”
Colombia plays and important part in this cash conspiracy, according to Venezuelan officials and State media. A press release issued yesterday by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry asking the Colombian government to derogate its “Resolution 8”, which according to the Venezuelan government allows for the operation of money exchange houses on the Colombian side of the border and the existence of a “double exchange system” in Colombia.