>> This gourmet grocery store is not located in New York or LA, but hard hit Caracas. The well stocked shelves in stark contrast to Venezuela's barren supermarkets, where most people line up for hours, just to get their hands on the most basic goods, like milk and diapers. But in recent months, these fancy privately run stores known as Bodegones have pop chop all over the country, selling everything from fine wines to imported baby formula, and truffle salt.
As conducting business in the highly inflated Bolivar currency has become increasingly difficult, new stores are providing consumers with an alternative. Pay in U.S. dollars. Cold hard cash, or even bank transfers work. Such transactions using dollars were once unthinkable. But recently the government of President Nicolas Maduro, lifted a 15 year old currency control system, that once made dollar based commerce explicitly illegal.
Adding to the rise of the Bodegones for those who can afford them. Reuters correspondent Karina Ponce Rodriguez is in Caracas.>> The client of the bodegones are executives that receive some compensations in dollars, or even tourists, but now a new clientele is common there. The people that receive remittances from the two million Venezuelans that left the country in the last few years, trying to escape the huge economic crisis.
>> But prices at these dollar stores are exorbitant for those living on Bolivar based salaries.>>
> You can't find anything, and what you find is priced in dollars. That means you need to have an income that matches the economic reality. Which is something that all Venezuelans know is not true.
We need at least 20 minimum wages to be able to buy food.>> It's not clear how many such stores have opened, or why the government does not require the Bodegones to stick with prices set by the government. A regulation first introduced by Hugo Chavez, still enforced at major supermarket chains.