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Venezuela: Photo of McDonald’s Happy Meal more than month’s salary



Hyperinflation in Venezuela is so bad that, for a time in March 2019, a McDonald’s Happy Meal cost more than the country’s minimum monthly wage.

Jesus Yepez, who lives in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, sent INSIDER a photograph of a McDonald’s menu that showed a Happy Meal costing 18,500 bolivares soberanos in March.

The photo appeared in a broader photo series showing the often grim reality of Venezuela in its present economic crisis.

That was more than the minimum monthly wage at the time, though the wage has since increased to 40,000 bolívares soberanos — just over double the cost of a Happy Meal, or “Cajita Feliz” in Spanish.

A Happy Meal —Cajita Feliz — cost 18,500 bolivares soberanos.
Jesus Yepez

Yepez, an architect, was buying his daughter an ice cream when he spotted the price, and decided to take a picture. He said that there was almost no one in McDonald’s because of the price of eating out in Venezuela.

Read more: Water from sewer pipes, cooking with tiny candles, and a Happy Meal that costs a month’s pay: Photos by ordinary Venezuelans show life under an economic meltdown

“Seeing how grave the crisis is, all we can do is ‘be happy’,” he said, a reference to McDonald’s cheery branding.

People in Venezuela are trying to continue living their lives, though intense hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, blackouts, and uprisings continue. Three million people have fled the country.

Its currency, the bolivar, has lost more than 99% of its value since 2013. The Guardian reported that people have turned to bartering or using other currencies, if they can get them.

Yepez also sent photos to INSIDER that showed how Venezuelans had put their almost-useless money on to a “money tree” in the street, with some even adding Monopoly money.

Read more: 13 ways Venezuelans are trying to live like normal as their country falls apart around them

“Many people commented that that is what our currency has turned into: Monopoly money,” he said. “It’s an ingenious protest for the insane inflation we’ve been experiencing.”

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