The value of Venezuela's currency has dropped by more than 75 percent since the death of President Hugo Chávez five months ago, the Los Angeles Times reported.
President Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver, has tried to fill the shoes of his predecessor and idol, but crime has increased, forcing the military into the streets. The value of the country's national currency, the Bolivar, has tumbled as much as 37 to the dollar. In April, the ratio stood at 21-22 Bolivars to the dollar.
Analysts said the country's instability and attempts to halt double-digit inflation are contributing to the steep drop in the value of the Bolivar.
"The increase in government expenditures has a lot to do with this," Alejandro Arreaza, Latin America economist for Barclay's Bank in New York, told the L.A. Times. "Until last year we had seen relative stability in the currency markets."
In May, Venezuela's National Assembly moved to wipe up a messy situation involving the South American nation running low on toilet paper. In an effort to relieve a chronic shortage of the vital bathroom hygienic product, lawmakers in Caracas approved a $79 million credit for the country's ministry of commerce to ship in toilet paper, toothpaste and soap from overseas.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Venezuelan relations remain tense under Maduro's leadership.
The death of Chávez put Maduro and the rest of the Venezuelan left in a difficult position.
Chávez’s charisma held the movement together and his social spending allowed him to skirt the dicey issues of rising inflation, high crime and a fledgling economy.
In 2009, Chávez led a successful push for a constitutional referendum that abolished term limits for the offices of President, state governors, mayors and congress members. The previous provision established a three-term limit for deputies and a two-term limit for the other offices, but with the 2009 referendum, Chávez – or any other leader – could ostensibly stay in power indefinitely.
On Friday, Maduro announced he's exploring a complete overhaul of his cabinet, including eliminating some positions and creating new ones.