The Giant Armadillos of Los Llanos: 5 Bolívar Fuerte (Venezuela, 2007)-Article

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

This Venezuelan banknote represent the 2nd denomination of the Bolívar Fuerte Series (2008). The 5 Bolívar Fuerte note (5 BsF) was printed from March 20, 2007 to August 19, 2014. This particular note was produced during the first printing run.


Rampant hyperinflation has caused all Bolívar Fuerte denominations to be retired. Including it's successor, the Bolívar Soberano (2018). Which currently (2020) has been retired up to it's final denomination, the 500 Bolívar Soberano (500 Bs.F.).

Despite this, retired Venezuelan Bolívar have found a new home. As an easily affordable item for beginning/young collectors. These collectors often become attracted, by the colorful illustrations of Venezuela’s wildlife. Creating decorative displays, with the reverse side out. In honor of that tradition, this note will be reviewed reverse first.

The Reverse features Giant Armadillos, known as “Cuspon" and "Cachicamo Gigante” in Venezuelan Spanish. Giant armadillos can grow up to 54 kg (119 lb) in the wild, making them by far the largest armadillos in the world. A nocturnal and solitary species, they spend their days sleeping alone, in their burrows. Only coming out at night to eat ants and termites. A single giant armadillo can eat an entire termite mound.


Due to their large size, they can't roll into a defensive ball, like most armadillos. Instead standing their ground, using their large digging claws for protection. They utilize a distinctive sickle-shaped third claw, which can be up to 22 cm (8.7 in) long. These are proportionately the largest claws of any living mammal.


Overall little is known about their habits in the wild, beyond their enormous size and diet. To this date

(2020), no juvenile giant armadillos have been discovered in the wild. Some armadillos have been known to live up to 16 years, in zoos.


Los Llanos

The background is an illustration of the Los Llanos (the plains). An expansive seasonal flood plain, located in North Western Venezuela. Portions of the Los Lllanos seasonally alternate between wooded grassland and wetland. Due to the 6 month long rainy season, which spans from May to October.


The seasonal flooding made the area unsuitable for most agriculture, before the invention of modern farming. The Spanish colonial era, the region was used almost entirely for cattle ranching. Taking advantage of the vast grazing lands, available during the dry season. The llanero ("plainsman") is synonymous with the vaqueros (cowboys) of Northern Mexico and South Texas.


Wildlife alternates dramatically, based on the dry-wet season cycle. Giant anteaters and armadillos are a relatively common sight during the dry season. They wandering the plains in search of ant and termite mounds. During the wet season the wetland environment attracts capybaras (known as chigüiros in Venezuela) and spectacled caimans.


The region is home to some of the largest Jaguars in the world. Males and Females in this region, can weigh up to 120 kg (260 lb) and 90 kg (200 lb) respectively. Jaguars remain perennial in Los Lllanos, they have adapted to hunt on land and water alike.

Observe

The vertical observe features Venezuelan revolutionary officer Pedro Camejo (1790- 1821). Who served as a cavalry officer and lancer in Simón Bolívar's Army. During the Venezuelan War of Independence (1810–1823). Camejo received the Order of Liberators of Venezuela. For his bravery in the Battle of Las Queseras del Medio. Serving under future President of Venezuela, General José Antonio Páez.

Countermeasures

Despite the low value of the Bolívar Fuerte, the series utilizes numerous security measures. Both visible and virtually hidden. The Fuerte series alternates between standard and window security strips, throughout it's denominations. This denomination utilizes a thin security strip. The strip displays "BCV5" in sequence, when back lit. It can be faintly seen from the observe.

The triangles above the (red) serial number, are a denomination designator. Which alternates between the denominations within the series. There is a 2-color light puzzle, below the (black) serial number. Orange (observe) and light orange (reverse) segments merge, when back lit. Highlighting a Giant Armadillo and star.


Micro-Print

The near entirety of the note is covered in alternating lines and micro-print patterns. Where present the micro-text reads “BCV5”, in sequence. The pattern repeats on all denominations, with the exception of the number (listed denomination). Below the observe's portrait is a micro-print pattern, horsemen with banners. Overlaid by a large number “5”.

Watermark

The watermark features Pedro Camejo, as seen on the note's observe. Below the watermark is an electro-typed text "5". Unfortunately the color pallet and erratic micro-print lines makes capturing the watermark difficult. Although it can be readily seen, in physical copies of the note.


Ultraviolet Gallery

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 156 × 69 mm (6.14 x 2.72in), standard for Bolívar Fuerte Series.

  • Pedro Camejo, also known as Negro Primero (First Black) in Venezuelan. A reference not only to his role as the first black Venezuelan officer. But also to his bravery, as always being in the first line of attack.

  • According to the writings of Eduardo Blanco, General Páez' aide-de-camp. Pedro Camejo presented himself to General Páez, after being mortally wounded. And declared, "My general, I come to tell you goodbye, because I am dead".

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