Venezuela is almost dead broke. You don’t see that story in most of the media today. Currently, Venezuela is negotiating to buy medical supplies by offering rare metals and gems in lieu of cash. I don’t know if this has been accepted by pharmaceutical companies. Using commodities as payment isn’t uncommon between large global mining and oil companies. But this has not been done to settle debts in other financial areas.

In 2008, Venezuela’s leadership created the “strong bolivar” by chopping off three zeros off the previous currency. In 2017, the currency lost 97 percent of its value. Estimates of inflation for 2018 are projected to top 2,000 percent as the country plunges further into hyperinflation. The government has defaulted on more than $700 million in bonds in recent months.

Yet, Venezuela sits on some of the largest oil reserves in the world. My heart is very heavy for the people of Venezuela.

JOHN LUKAN

Janesville

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