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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

In Focus

See how many bills it took to buy a chicken in Venezuela

The once-booming nation is now suffering from Soviet-style product shortages and a mass exodus of citizens fleeing for other South American countries.

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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

Banks closed Monday in Venezuela as they prepared to release the "sovereign bolivar," a new currency printed with five fewer zeroes in a bid to tame soaring inflation.

Here are a few pictures that illustrate the limited purchasing power of the old bolivar.

This stack of 14,600,000 bolivars, or about $2.22 U.S., would buy this chicken at a mini-market in Catia, a low-income neighborhood of Caracas on Aug. 16.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of tomatoes cost 5,000,000 bolivars, or 76 U.S. cents.

Venezuela was once among Latin America's most prosperous nations, holding the world's largest proven oil reserves, but a recent fall in oil prices accompanied by corruption and mismanagement under two decades of socialist rule have left the economy in a historic economic and political crisis.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A roll of toilet paper was priced at 2,600,000 bolivars, or 40 cents.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that Venezuela will have 1 million percent inflation by year-end.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A kilogram of carrots was 3,000,000 bolivars, or 46 cents.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A bar of soap was 3,500,000 bolivars, or 53 cents.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A package of diapers was 8,000,000 bolivars, or $1.22.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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Image: The Wider Image: Venezuelans rush to shops before monetary overhaul

A kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of meat was 9,500,000 bolivars, or $1.45.

President Nicolas Maduro, re-elected to a second term in May in a vote widely condemned as rigged, says his government is the victim of an “economic war” led by political adversaries with the help of Washington, and accuses the United States of seeking to overthrow him.

The United States has denied the accusations. But it has described Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, as a dictator and imposed several rounds of financial sanctions against his government and top officials.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
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