As a five-year crisis continues, people are unable to afford food and medicine – even as Nicolás Maduro tightens his grip on presidential power

Two years ago, shoppers in Venezuela would pay fruit sellers like José Pacheco with boxfuls of 100 bolívar notes – then the currency’s highest denomination. Now, thanks to rampant hyperinflation, even those are useless.

“It’s crazy to accept notes of 100, 500, or 1000 bolívares,” said Pacheco, a wiry 61-year-old, whose humble stall clings to the fringe of one of the major markets in Ciudad Guayana, a city in Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state.

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