Mo money mo problems: Venezuela edition

Look at all of those $1 and $5 (and $2?) bills! It’s a bold statement from the 14-year-old daughter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But Venezuelans aren’t exactly finding Rosinés Chávez’s antics cute. This week, Rosinés posted the picture above on the photo-sharing app Instagram, drawing instant ire from Venezuelans who contrasted the message with ...

Instagram
Instagram
Instagram

Look at all of those $1 and $5 (and $2?) bills! It's a bold statement from the 14-year-old daughter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But Venezuelans aren't exactly finding Rosinés Chávez's antics cute.

This week, Rosinés posted the picture above on the photo-sharing app Instagram, drawing instant ire from Venezuelans who contrasted the message with her father's critiques of U.S. capitalism or have struggled for years to change local currency, bolívares, into dollars.

In 2003, Chávez imposed tight currency restrictions in an effort to limit capital flight. The unpopular government agency CADIVI now prevents individuals from purchasing more than $3,000 for travel and $400 for web purchases a year -- all at the fixed rate of 4.3 bolívares per dollar (of course, Rosinés could just be flaunting her annual allotment of greenbacks). According to Bloomberg, those who don't receive state approval and are essentially blacklisted from the system seek refuge in the black market, where they pay roughly 8.5 bolívares per dollar. Importers often turn to a currency market run by the central bank that offers a rate of 5.3 bolívares per dollar.

Look at all of those $1 and $5 (and $2?) bills! It’s a bold statement from the 14-year-old daughter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But Venezuelans aren’t exactly finding Rosinés Chávez’s antics cute.

This week, Rosinés posted the picture above on the photo-sharing app Instagram, drawing instant ire from Venezuelans who contrasted the message with her father’s critiques of U.S. capitalism or have struggled for years to change local currency, bolívares, into dollars.

In 2003, Chávez imposed tight currency restrictions in an effort to limit capital flight. The unpopular government agency CADIVI now prevents individuals from purchasing more than $3,000 for travel and $400 for web purchases a year — all at the fixed rate of 4.3 bolívares per dollar (of course, Rosinés could just be flaunting her annual allotment of greenbacks). According to Bloomberg, those who don’t receive state approval and are essentially blacklisted from the system seek refuge in the black market, where they pay roughly 8.5 bolívares per dollar. Importers often turn to a currency market run by the central bank that offers a rate of 5.3 bolívares per dollar.

Rosinés has been in the public eye before — posing on the arm of teen prince Justin Bieber and dutifully uploading it to her Bieber-crazed Twitter account — but this time her father, whose approval rating is hovering around 55 percent, is running for reelection. And as Foreign Affairs explains today, the opposition, led by the 39-year-old lawyer-turned-governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, is gaining momentum.

Rosinés has her defenders — in particular her mother Marisabel, who divorced Chávez in 2003 and recently tweeted, “I told her that her mistake wasn’t to take [the picture] but rather to upload it to a medium where there are ignorant people who don’t respect others.” But the photo has also given birth to a Tumblr —  #Rosinesing — featuring people mocking Rosinés with other items that are hard to find in Venezuela such as cooking oil, medicine, and, well, Rosinés:

Yes, if there’s one thing that’s not in short supply in Venezuela, it’s satire.

Hanna Trudo is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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