EspañolOn February 25, a stream of curious and doubtful clients entered through the doors of Italcambio, one of Venezuela’s main currency exchanges, in downtown Caracas. They looked around for the line, a habit learned by Venezuelans through their daily ordeals in supermarkets and pharmacies to get basic products.
Such wariness wasn’t exactly unfounded. Most Venezuelans have barely set foot in a currency exchange for 12 years: the government’s harsh currency controls enacted in 2003 have made it nearly impossible to get foreign currency through official means.
Up until February 18, one could only get US dollars through a painfully bureaucratic banking procedure — most just resorted to the black market. But with the new SIMADI exchange tier, Venezuelans can once again secure foreign cash in certain exchanges, stores, and banks authorized by the government.