CARACAS - In a little less than three months, Venezuela will have a new currency. President Nicolas Maduro announced the "Sovereign Bolivar" will start circulating in June.
The currency change is a result of the country's economic crisis. The International Monetary Fund estimates the inflation in Venezuela could reach 13,000 percent this year.
Under Maduro's new plan, a 500 bill will become just 50 cents, and Naduro says it will help Venezuelans with the shortage of cash and the long lines at the ATM that have become a daily routine for many.
"I have been here for an hour and every day I stand in line for three hours, just to have a little cash, " a man said.
Maduro announced the major overhaul Thursday night and said Venezuelans can expect to see three zeros will be eliminated from the current bills that will begin to circulate June 4. Maduro blamed the cash shortage on mafias that he says are taking large amounts of currency out of the country.
"The bills haven't even been released for long and they are taking them to Cucuta," Maduro said. "Bandits, mobsters, sons of [expletive]."
Economist Maxim Ross said the measure could help with the cash shortage in the short term, but eventually inflation will eat away at the value of the new bills -- just like the old ones.
"That does not solve anything. It's makeup, strictly makeup, and here it has a very strong consequence," Ross said. "It is an intention to demonstrate that now the currency has more value."
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