Worthless Venezuelan Cash Turned Into Handbags

CENPublished: February 9, 2018
Published: February 9, 2018

Worthless Venezuelan banknotes are being rounded up by enterprising market workers and fashioned into handbags, shirts, wallets and even sandals.

The Venezuelan Bolivar has become largely useless as the oil-rich South American country continues to suffer from economic crisis and hyperinflation.

One community in Colombia is taking advantage of their neighbouring country’s woes.

Artisans and craft workers in Cucuta, on the border with Venezuela, are weaving Bolivar bills, sometimes using denominations of as much as 100 at a time, into handmade merchandise.

One trader in Cucuta who is originally from Venezuela said: "In my old country, money is no good. People are ripping up banknotes because they are no longer accepted anywhere, so we make use of them."

"We come from Caracas (Venezuelan capital) where we learned this production method and we can make absolutely anything, including shirts and sandals."

Wilmer Rojas, 25, uses up to 800 banknotes per item. He folds them like an origami model and sews them together with needle and thread.

"You can do the same with magazines or newspapers, but the Bolivar is useless now and the perfect size – I do not have to waste time cutting them!"

The artisan added: "All the banknotes in my bag are not enough to even buy some flour, eggs or biscuits."

Video footage of the man’s artistic use of a national currency has been widely shared on social networks.

In 2016 a video was circulated by local media of Colombian residents burning large quantities of worthless Venezuelan cash.

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