People line up to buy cheese at a market in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raised wages for the fifth time this year while saying he's looking to establish a single exchange rate tied to the nation's fledgling cryptocurrency. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuelan jittery ahead of sudden economic reforms

August 19, 2018 - 1:00 pm

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelans are bracing for dramatic economic measures the government has announced, including a 3,000 percent hike in the minimum wage.

The changes start to take effect Monday with introduction of a new currency that lops five zeros off the country's fast-depreciating bills.

President Nicolas Maduro is also raising gasoline prices in hopes of rescuing a plummeting economy.

Opposition leaders are seizing on the public's unease to call a nationwide protest.

Economists say Maduro's measures are likely to accelerate hyperinflation rather than address core economic troubles, like plunging oil production.

Johns Hopkins University economist Steve Hanke compares the changes to a superficial face-lift.

Butcher Jesus Pacheco says he may have to fire some of his six employees just to stay in business because of the sudden leap in the minimum wage.

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