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No similarity in Venezuela, India’s cash move

india Updated: Dec 14, 2016 00:38 IST
Jayanth Jacob

People queue outside a bank in Caracas in an attempt to deposit money, on December 13, 2016. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed an emergency decree removing Venezuela's largest bank note, the 100 bolivar bill, from circulation because of what he called a Washington-sponsored plot against his country's troubled economy.(AFP Photo)

Venezuela has pulled its 100-bolivar currency bills out of circulation but the Latin American nation’s envoy to New Delhi, Augusto Montiel, insisted that his country’s initiative was not similar to India’s demonitisation move.

“Our central bank informed people three weeks in advance that we would bring out new notes. The only surprise was the sudden withdrawal of 100 denomination bills. But all new bills will be available from December 15,” the envoy said in an interview to Hindustan Times.

But why did his country choose to target 100-bolivar currency notes?

“We found that 50% of the 100 denomination notes were outside Venezuela, mostly in Colombia. These notes were smuggled out in a bid to pump them back to de-stabilise our country,” he said.

The envoy also justified Venezuela’s decision to shut down its western border with Colombia for 72 hours in order to combat currency smuggling.

“Even before the announcement of border sealing was made, our security forces stopped truckloads of 100-bolivar currency coming to the country from Colombia.”

Venezuela’s central bank will begin circulating new denominations from 500 to 20,000 bolivars, as well as new 10, 50 and 100-bolivar coins from Thursday.

The envoy, however, said several reports on the economic troubles of the country were biased.

“The western media would love to paint us in a bad light. They want the world order in a particular way, so most of the reports tend to be exaggerated,” he said.