"If you live in Venezuela and want to fly abroad, get in line. Flights are booked solid months in advance, not from a new interest in exotic destinations but because locals are profiting from a play on the nation's tightly controlled currency market."After a decade of currency controls set up by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2003, the disparity between the official and black-market rates for the local Bolivar currency is higher than ever. Greenbacks now sell on the illegal market at about seven times the government price of 6.3 to the Dollar."There are strict limits on the availability of Dollars at the 6.3 rate, but Venezuelans are cashing in on a special currency provision for travelers. With a valid airline ticket, Venezuelans may exchange up to $3,000 at the government rate."Some are not even flying, leaving many planes half empty."
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Bill Bonner is founder and owner of Agora Inc., one of America's largest consumer newsletter publishers. Best-selling author and globe-trotting correspondent since 1999 for the Daily Reckoning email, he is chairman of family-wealth advisory Bonner & Partners, and co-author with his son Will of Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold Onto It for 100 Years (Wiley, 2012).
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