Venezuelans left reeling by dollar shortages and hyper-inflation

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Maduro’s economic rescue plan offers little hope to people struggling to get by

Gideon Long, Andean Correspondent

For 40 years, Víctor Urbina has sold sweets from a stand outside a shopping centre in Caracas.

Now 80, his hair white, he lived through the city’s infamous “Caracazo” of 1989 — a week of riots and looting, sparked by price rises, in which hundreds of people died.

But as he grapples with the introduction of new bank notes and a huge currency devaluation, Mr Urbina said he has never seen anything quite like Venezuela’s current economic implosion. “It’s incredible what’s happening to us,” said Mr Urbina. “This guy [President Nicolás Maduro] is driving us all crazy. No one knows what he’s doing.”