Jamal Khashoggi

Migrants turn Venezuela's old currency into art

Growing number of migrants in Colombia sell paper goods made out of obsolete banknotes

Daniel Salgar, Lokman Ilhan   | 21.03.2019
Migrants turn Venezuela's old currency into art

CUCUTA, Colombia

A Venezuelan man who migrated to Colombia one-and-a-half-year ago makes handicraft items with obsolete banknotes. 

Edixon Infante, 24, is among the growing number of migrants in Colombia, who are using the now defunct Venezuelan bolivar currency notes, to create art.

They were replaced by the new Venezuelan sovereign bolivar last August in the face of hyperinflation.

Many Venezuelans who migrated to bordering Colombia in the pursuit of jobs and better lives now look after their families selling bags, ornaments and toys made of the abandoned currency notes on the streets.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Infante said that he worked as a hawker in Venezuela.

"If I had this money in the past, I would have been a millionaire. I would buy a house, get a car," Infante said, waving a bundle of banknotes. 

But it has no value now, he adds.

He said he got the idea by some of his country people who were making a living selling paper goods made of old bolivars.

In particular, the handicraft goods drew the interest of tourists, said Infante, adding that he sends a part of the money that he earns to his family living in Venezuela.

Venezuela's economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil, the country's main export.

The country has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions flared when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.

Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have thrown their weight behind Maduro.

* Writing by Beyza Binnur Donmez

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