A stack of tomatoes sitting in front of two tall stacks of cash (© Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
This depiction of the bolivars needed to buy 1 kilogram of tomatoes at a given time in 2018 illustrates hyperinflation. (© Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

The prices of everyday goods in Venezuela — food, clothing and medicine — have skyrocketed to the point that even a simple life there is unaffordable. Venezuela’s economy suffers from hyperinflation, which occurs when a country’s currency loses value very quickly, essentially becoming worthless.

Due to corruption and mismanagement by Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s illegitimate, former dictator, hyperinflation has destroyed the value of the country’s currency, the bolivar.

Chart showing dramatically rising price of cup of coffee over several months. Source: Bloomberg (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

Though Maduro and his illegitimate network have failed to release economic data, Bloomberg has developed the “Café con Leche Index” to track the price of coffee in a bakery in Caracas. This provides an unofficial look at inflation. Over the past 6 months, the price of a cup of coffee at the bakery has gone from 20 bolivars to 1,700 bolivars. (Bloomberg reports that in August 2018, Venezuela re-denominated the bolivar, lopping five zeros off it. That would make the price of 1,700 new bolivars equal to 170,000,000 old bolivars.)

This hyperinflation has led to hunger, poverty and a health crisis.

To support Venezuelans in this time of dire need, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced $20 million in humanitarian assistance for Venezuelans, on top of the $140 million in humanitarian and development aid for surrounding countries to assist the more than 3.6 million Venezuelans who have fled Maduro’s tyranny.