For about two years, Venezuela has been the victim of a monetary attack near Cucuta, a Colombian city bordering Venezuela, where 100 bolivar bills — the highest amount available in the country — are accumulated and hoarded.
According to investigations, mafia groups are using the bills accumulated at the border in order to print out fake dollars on Venezuelan paper.
“There are entire stores of 100-bolivar bills in Cucuta, Cartagena, Maicao, Bucaramanga,” deplored Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Sunday.
“About 300 million bolivars are estimated to be in the hands of international mafia groups based in Colombia, as part of the economic coup (against Venezuela),” he added.
As a result of this massive extraction, Venezuelan ATMs have been running out of cash, and have been forced to deliver only bills of smaller amounts of bolivars, causing major inconveniences for Venezuelans.
In a bid to address the issue, Venezuelan authorities have announced the exit of 100-bolivar bills in three days, to be replaced with a different one starting Dec. 15, as well as the reinforcement of security near the border.