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UPDATE: Story Yanked Due To Error In Exchange Rate

UPDATE: The story has been killed by Agency France-Presse due to errors in the exchange rate.You may be still be able to buy a burger at somewhat affordable prices, but it doesn't negate the fact that Venezuela is in a death spiral thanks to socialism.

***

How bad is inflation in Venezuela? The country’s disastrous dalliance with lefty-economic theories has not only led to hospitals lacking basic medical supplies, like soap, food, and electricity, but burgers that now cost $170. Need a place to stay in Venezuela (though I don’t know why you would visit in the first place)? No problem—it’ll only cost you $6,900 a night (via AFP):

If a visitor to Venezuela is unfortunate enough to pay for anything with a foreign credit card, the eye-watering cost might suggest they were in a city pricier than Tokyo or Zurich.

A hamburger sold for 1,700 Venezuelan bolivares is $170, or a 69,000-bolivar hotel room is $6,900 a night, based on the official rate of 10 bolivares for $1.

But of course no merchant is pricing at the official rate imposed under currency controls. It's the black market rate of 1,000 bolivares per dollar that's applied.

But for Venezuelans paid in hyperinflation-hit bolivares, and living in an economy relying on mostly imported goods or raw materials, conditions are unthinkably expensive.

Even for the middle class, most of it sliding into poverty, hamburgers and hotels are out-of-reach excesses.

"Everybody is knocked low," Michael Leal, a 34-year-old manager of an eyewear store in Caracas, told AFP. "We can't breathe."

- Shuttered stores -

In Chacao, a middle-class neighborhood in the capital, office workers lined up outside a nut store to buy the cheapest lunch they could afford. Nearby restaurants were all but empty.

Superficially it looked like the center of any other major Latin American city: skyscrapers, dense traffic, pedestrians in short sleeves bustling along the sidewalks.

But look closely and you can see the economic malaise. Many stores, particularly those that sold electronics, were shuttered.

"It's horrible now," said Marta Gonzalez, the 69-year-old manager of a corner beauty products store.

The Agence French-Presse added that for most middle class families, a simple trip to the movie theater is now a luxury item that’s not affordable, as some are trying to live on $35/month. 

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