The French News Agency AFP inaccurately reported on Tuesday that the price of hamburgers in Venezuela had reached US$170 due to hyperinflation.
“A hamburger sold for 1,700 Venezuelan bolivares is US$170, or a 69,000-bolivar hotel room is $6,900 a night, based on the official rate of 10 bolivares for US$1,” the AFP have previously reported.
The country's current official exchange rate is about 370 bs per dollar, which means the burger would only cost US$4, but most people, especially tourists, resort to the black market, where they can get over 1,000 bs per dollar. This means a burger actually costs US$1.70, an extremely far cry from the US$170 AFP was claiming.
The article, which was eventually removed from their website due to errors in the exchange rate, was republished by several conservative news outlets in efforts depict Venezuela as a country on the verge of political and economic collapse.
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This marks the latest episode of erroneous reporting by Western media agencies on the causes and impacts of the runaway inflation in the country. While prices are out of control on certain products, the inflation rates are largely caused by the elite's unsanctioned import of foreign currency.
Bankers and other elites have long toyed with the exchange rate of Venezuela's currency, doing everything in their power to circumvent government regulations on the import of goods and U.S. dollars.
More than half of Venezuela's inflation is being caused by currency manipulation, the country's central bank said earlier this year.
Venezuelan President has repeatedly criticized western media outlets of deliberately publishing misleading news in order to create fear and destabilize his democratically elected government.