Venezuela

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is nestled on the northern coast of South America. Its territory is made up of a continental landmass and islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean bounded by Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia.

The economy of Venezuela relies primarily on petroleum exploitation and production. It was the leading petroleum exporter in the world from the 1940s until 1970 and was one of the major oil exporters to the United States. Because the modernization of other economic sectors is fueled by the petroleum sector, the country’s national slogan has been “Sembrando el Petroleo”, which means sowing the oil. The nation’s economy expanded through the development of other deposits such as iron ore, coal, nickel, bauxite, and hydroelectricity. However, economic modernization programs slacked due to the fluctuating international petroleum prices and global financial crisis. Local challenges including inflation, mismanagement, corruption, and inexperienced workforce have also exacerbated the situation. In the 21st century, Venezuela recovered from the downturn and paid off its international debt in 2007.

When Hugo Chavez became the president, a socialist economic and political reform was introduced. Furthermore, in his attempt to minimize the influence of the US economy in the country and other Latin American countries, Chavez made use of the oil revenue to allocate loans to its nearby countries. However, the administration’s mismanagement has caused oil production and revenues to shrink tremendously. While there was a surge in oil exports, Venezuela failed to fund oil industry maintenance and expansion projects. Rather, it focused on social programs and borrowed a huge amount of capital. In 2014, the country’s economy plummeted along with the drop in international oil prices.

Named after revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan bolivar currency has been used since the 18th century, replacing the venezolano. The bolivar was one of the most stable monetary units and was widely accepted until Venezuela adopted a floating exchange rate in 1983. In 2008, the currency was revalued and was renamed Bolivares Fuerte. The first bolivares fuerte set of notes featured significant figures in the history of Venezuela. To address hyperinflation, larger denominations of banknotes were issued between 2016 and 2017 from 500 to 100,000 bolivares.

In 2018, a new currency called the Bolivar Soberano was introduced, Just like the preceding issues, these notes feature a prominent Venezuelan personality on the obverse, and on their reverse are the coat of arms and an animal in their habitats. In 2019, larger denominations were issued depicting Simon Bolivar and the National Pantheon of Venezuela and Mausoleo del Libertador Simon Bolivar.
 

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