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Venezuela Orders Largest Bills Turned in Ahead of New Bank Notes

Venezuela’s government ordered all 100-bolivar bank notes out of circulation within 72 hours, amid a hard cash shortage and the scheduled release this week of bigger bank notes.

“There has been a scam and smuggling of the one hundred bills on the border with Colombia. We have tried the diplomatic way to deal with this problem with Colombia’s government; there are huge mafias,” President Nicolas Maduro said on state television.

Maduro signed a new emergency economic decree to fight ”currency attacks” and an alleged “economic war.”

With the value of Venezuela’s largest banknotes reduced to a few U.S. cents by triple-digit inflation and the currency’s collapse on the black market, the country’s central bank said it will begin circulating higher-denomination notes by Dec. 15.

Venezuela’s consumer economy is largely cash-based and lines at automated teller machines are commonplace, and sometimes cash can’t be withdrawn at all.

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