Los Angeles, January 17, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro revealed Sunday that effective immediately the nation’s border with Colombia will house eight currency exchange locations. The head of state announced the move during his annual address to the nation, in which he emphasized strengthening Venezuela’s economic development for 2017.
“[There will be] eight currency exchange houses on the border with Colombia and Venezuela [that] will regularize our exchange and establish the true value of our currency,” expressed Maduro, referring to the artificially low exchange rate used by currency traders in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.
The new exchange centers are intended to undercut the black market by making bolivars available at the floating DICOM rate.
The initiative is part of the Bolivarian government’s Economic Border Development Zone plan.
The eight exchanges houses are distributed in a variety of malls, stores and airport locations between the border states of Zulia and Táchira including: Centro Comercial Lago Mall I & II (Zulia), International Airport La Chinita (Zulia), Centro Comercial Cima (Zulia), Centro Comercial Las Delicias (Zulia), Sambil Maracaibo (Zulia), Sambil San Cristóbal (Táchira), Barrio Obrero (Táchira) and San Antonio del Táchira.
Last month, the Venezuelan government announced the withdrawal from circulation of the 100 bolivar bill in a bid to weaken criminal “mafias” that profit from the different exchange rates in Cúcuta, Bogotá, and inside Venezuela.
Venezuelan bolivars are regularly smuggled to Colombia where they are traded for US dollars at the higher official rate in the Colombian capital, which are in turn exchanged for bolivars across the border only to then be returned to Colombia.
Maduro and Venezuelan social movements have accused economic elites in both countries of engaging in currency speculation, in particular highlighting the role of US-based currency website Dolar Today, which sets arbitrarily sets the black market value for the Venezuelan bolivar.