By Carlos Suniaga.
A Venezuelan man who carried a corpse to a San Felix gasoline station to buy fuel has to get arrested for instigating hate, El Pitazo has learned.
Despite a social-media scandal that involves a corpse and has so far resulted in one arrest, the driver never got any gasoline. In neighboring Puerto Ordaz, drivers who could not get fuel ignited old tires, and other refuse to set up fiery barricades in protest.
The man, Jesus Alberto Vega Medina, opened the back of his car and propped the corpse in atop a large aluminum tray in the tailgate at the Antonio de Berrios gas station in San Felix, a city in Bolivar state. He claimed that allow him to get some fuel since he needed to take the dead men to the cemetery.
A driver captured this moment on video, which became viral between Sunday and Monday.
Vega gets arrested by agents from the Bolivar state police Intelligence Division (PEB), the Public Safety Secretariat confirmed on Sunday. The driver was still at the gas station, trying to fill up.
Police said that Vega Medina shocked the population by exposing the body publicly and accused him of inciting hatred, a political offense often used to arrest opposition politicians.
Police said the man would be presented to the Public Prosecutor Office and confirmed that he failed to fill up with gasoline, but did not say what happened to the body.
Despite having the largest oil reserves known and six refineries, Venezuela stopped producing gasoline in February, due to a combination of factors that include decades of corruption, mismanagement, and US sanctions on the industry since 2018.
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Drivers often resort to extreme measures to buy fuel imported from Iran and sold at US-equivalent prices. Subsidized gasoline is much harder to get, requiring proof of party affiliation and longer lines. Gas stations are under strict military control, but protests and fistfights are regular.
It was the Maduro regime, however, who initially demanded of hearse drivers to bring an occupied casket to gas stations to obtain the fuel. The arrested man was not driving hearse but carried the body in his vehicle.
In a video posting, the narrator says of the event: “This gentleman (showing the driver and the body) is asking for support to move a body. He’s been here since morning, early, and they’ve got him dithering, here at the pump… I’ve been here since last night, and I couldn’t get any gasoline either.”