Hallelujah! It looks like very soon you will no longer be forced to incessantly head down to the closest ATM to get cash, only to see those AR $100 bills disappear before your eyes ten minutes later.
The Central Bank announced yesterday that later this year it will begin printing new AR $200 and AR $500 bills in an effort to make all of our lives easier. In other words, you will no longer have to carry those ridiculous wads of cash in your pocket every time you need to pay the rent.
Despite an out-of-control inflation that has been pestering Argentina for years, the previous administration refused to issue higher denomination peso bills and focused on redesigning the ones we already had while infusing a little politics into them. That’s why we got the Malvinas Islands on a 50-peso bill or the face of Eva Perón on the 100-peso bill.
But the new government says that, while it is time to face reality and admit we do indeed need 200, 500 and 1000-peso bills, in this case, politics will be cast aside and the new bank notes will include animals representing Argentina’s diverse fauna instead of prominent political figures from a not-so-distant past.
Animals, the government says, shouldn’t be a divisive issue.
And not only we’re getting new, higher denomination bills, but the other bills are also being replaced with new designs as well. You can say goodbye to Evita, the Malvinas, Belgrano, San Martín and all of the other forefathers you barely know or care to learn about. They are all being replaced by animals that represent every region of Argentina.
During the announcement yesterday, we were introduced to the AR $200 bill, featuring a southern right whale (you may have seen them in Patagonia,) and the AR $500 bill, featuring a majestic-looking yaguareté (or jaguar,) known to dwell in northeastern Argentina and Paraguay.
The 1000-peso bill (which will be ready in 2017) will feature a rufous hornero, Argentina’s national bird, although no design is available yet. As I mentioned before, bills already in circulation will be replaced with new designs including a taruca, or north Andean deer, on the AR $100 note, a condor on the AR $50 note and a guanaco on the AR $20 note.
And what about lower denomination bills? Well, those will gradually begin to disappear and eventually be replaced by coins in 2017. So expect to see new coins next year, too.
The idea to include animals in official bank notes is not that original in the first place. Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa have all done it so it’s not such a big of a deal. But higher denomination bills are a welcome initiative after years of having to walk to the ATM on a Sunday night only to find out that it had no money.
Of course, this being the land of conspiracy theories and all, some people on social media are already saying that this is another ploy by the Macri administration to weaken Argentina’s nationalism and slowly make us forget of our founding fathers.
I don’t know, guys. I just want that stuffed baby jaguar.