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Half a burger? Here's what one month's pay will get you in Venezuela

Half a burger? Here's what one month's pay will get you in Venezuela
By Camille Bello
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Minimum wage in Caracas can buy you five cups of coffee — or half a burger. But what other things can you buy with one month's pay in the South American country?


On the Venezuelan black market, 5,200,000 bolivares is worth €1.30, which is about the only source of foreign exchange for most citizens. It's also the minimum wage for a month's work.

The country is experiencing a worsening economic crisis that has seen inflation hit a new record of 40,000%, according to researchers who have been tracking the prices in the country for more than a decade.

Hyperinflation is devastating Venezuela, and most economists blame the crisis on weak oil prices and the socialist economic policies of President Nicolás Maduro — including fixing the price of some goods below the cost of production.

The minimum monthly wage in Caracas can buy five cups of coffee, or half a burger. But what else could you spend your earnings on?

Euronews conducted an anecdotal survey asking a small group of Venezuelans how much they pay for products like eggs, sugar or potatoes.

This is what one month's pay will get you in Caracas.

The country's leader, Maduro, blames the opposition and businessmen backed by Washington; refuses to receive international aid; and addresses the crisis by printing more cash and increasing the minimum wage (seven times last year).

But whatever the cause, Venezuelans are suffering. Food shortages are so severe that about a quarter of the population is eating two or fewer meals a day, according to a study conducted by three universities in Caracas.

The food black market is often the only source of goods like pasta and rice, but prices are five times more than they would be at a regular supermarket.

How much would you spend on a quick visit to the supermarket in Caracas?

"First of all, going to the supermarket is never a 'quick' thing to do. If I want to bake a cake, I'll have to go to at least three different places. There's no way I'll find the flour, sugar and eggs in the same place," Carola, a Caracas resident, told Euronews.

How many workers does it take to feed a family?

The Center for Documentation and Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers (Cendas-FVM) calculated in May that the food budget for a family of five exceeded 300 million bolivares. That's 57.7 workers earning the minimum wage.

Is everything in Venezuela unaffordable?

No, filling up a car is extraordinarily cheap.

The South American country has the biggest oil reserves in the world. You can fill up the tank for a medium car for 200 bolivares, that means having a cup of coffee is six thousand times more expensive.

"It is customary to tip the gas station employees, I pay around 200 to fill the tank of my car, I tip the operator 500, I feel ashamed to give less than that," one resident, Maria Lucia Machado, told Euronews.

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