I went grocery shopping last Saturday night at La Cascada, a chain supermarket here in Maturin. Inflation is one of the things killing this country and I just heard today that the black market price is up as much as 21 Bolivares to 1 USD. The “official” legal exchange rate is about 4.30 Bolivares to 1 USD! And it is going up almost every week – they say Venezuela is on track to have the highest inflation rate in the world this year. I mentioned in a previous post, that one of my first impressions of this place was the feeling of “Cuba.” And the supermarket experience kind of heightened that feeling. The queues were massive. So many people trying to ‘load up’ on some food. There was no rice to be had in the market. Sugar is being rationed. No oils. The meat freezer was long, yet empty except for three packages. Peanut butter cost me the equivalent of about $12 USD (but I had to have it. It’s the only thing I can guarantee will give me some protein, as our fridges and cupboards are sparse.)
12JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.