Venezuelans in Tachira defy security forces and loot warehouses as citizens struggle with shortages in the midst of a brutal economic crisis. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). About 400 people in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira defied security personnel and looted warehouses on Saturday (December 17) as the country faces extreme shortages and struggles with a brutal economic crisis. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro suspended on Saturday the elimination of the country's largest denomination bill, which had sparked cash shortages and nationwide unrest, saying the measure would be postponed until early January. The surprise pulling of the 100 bolivar note from circulation this week - before new larger bills were available - led to vast lines at banks, looting at scores of shops, anti-government protests and at least one death. Maduro, speaking from the presidential palace, blamed a "sabotage" campaign by enemies abroad for the delayed arrival of three planes carrying the new 500, 2,000 and 20,000 bolivar notes. The 100 bolivar bills, officially out of use since Thursday and worth just 4 U.S. cents at the black market currency rate, can now be used until Jan. 2, Maduro said. Many Venezuelans had found themselves without the means to pay for food, gasoline or Christmas preparations in a country already reeling from a profound economic crisis.