Venezuela’s Tax on Breathing


We're used to a seemingly endless range of taxes and surcharges when we fly - passenger taxes, departure taxes, fuel levies. But Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further - passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax (£12; $20) for the air they breathe.

This is to cover the cost of a newly-installed system which uses ozone to purify the building's air conditioning system. A press release from the Ministry of Water and Air Transport says it's the first airport in South America and the Caribbean to use the technology, which it claims will eliminate bacterial growth to "protect the health of travelers," as well as deodorizing and sanitizing the building.

Depending who you ask, the tax is funny, infuriating, or just one more surreal aspect of a country that has the biggest oil reserves in the world, yet at the same time has shortages of toilet paper and sugar.

Editor’s Note: Venezuela offers a "pre-screening" of the movie that is to play out in the EU and US as they sink deeper into financial desperation. More on that here.

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