The monthly minimum wage in the socialist country of Venezuela has crashed to under four dollars a month as hyperinflation continues to crush the country’s shattered economy.
Despite dictator Nicolás Maduro’s five minimum wage hikes over the course of 2017, the monthly minimum wage of 177,507 bolivares is equivalent to $3.41, working out at just over two cents an hour, according to latest real value exchange rates.
Venezuelans also receive a monthly food ticket of 279,000 bolivares a month, bringing people’s total monthly income to around approximately nine dollars a month.
Maduro confirmed last week that the government would debut a new 100,000 Bolivar bill, making it the highest denomination note released in modern Venezuelan history. The move comes less than a year after he tried to relieve pressure on consumers by releasing 500, 1000, 2000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolivar notes, although all of these notes now all have a value of well under half a dollar.
While, ten years ago, a 100 Bolivar note could buy a television, it is now worth just over one cent, with the currency having lost over 99.99 percent of its value since 2010. Yet rates of inflation continue to accelerate amid fears of a default on the country’s colossal debt.
On Wednesday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed that Russia would offer Maduro a restructuring package on Venezuela’s $3 billion debt, although analysts believe this will do little to ease the overall debt burden, which currently stands at around $120 billion.
The unprecedented levels of inflation have now led the country into the worst humanitarian crisis in its history, leaving millions living in abject poverty amid chronic shortages of basic resources such as food, electricity, medicine, and sanitary products.
The country’s government also faces further pressure from the United States, with the Trump administration signing off on a range of sanctions primarily targeting the country’s state-run oil company following the socialist government’s installation of a “national constituency assembly,” a fraudulent lawmaking body which has effectively rendered the country a dictatorship.
As part of his socialist economic program, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez would boast that Venezuela had the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month. However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and has now reached levels comparable to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis, which saw people using wheelbarrows to buy products and the introduction of a 100 trillion dollar banknote.