Drivers in Western Venezuela wait more than 48 hours to obtain gasoline

Drivers stayed overnight outside the services station trying to get gasoline. Troubles with the installation of the bio-payment system and alleged discrimination in the supply were denouncing.

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El Pitazo took a tour of the service stations, several of which were militarized and without gasoline. Photo by Irene Revilla.

Three days of lines, preferential attention at subsidized gas stations, delay due to installations of the bio-payment system, discrimination to supply, and more have been the complaints collected by the team of El Pitazo in western Venezuela.

All over Venezuela, the installation of the bio-payment system, which allows account holders in state banks to pay for their purchases by having their fingerprints scanned- is being blamed for delays in the gasoline lines. Some stations are doing without it, accepting U.S. dollars, and even cash instead.

In Lara, the military asked for patience

“It is necessary to have conscience, calm, and patience. We have to get the fuel to Yagua, it takes eight hours to get to Barquisimeto,” said Jose Santiago Moreno Martinez, commander of the Integral Defense Operating Zone in Lara, who clarified that the PDVSA tanker trucks are divided among several service stations in the nine municipalities of Lara.

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In Lara, there are 500,000 vehicles in circulation, according to figures from the Zodi. Moreno said it is impossible to equip 100,000 vehicles per day under the system devised by the Maduro regime, where license plates ending in a certain number can fill up only once a week.

Protests for delays

In Lara, specifically in the municipality of Palavecino, citizens blocked the passage of two fuel trucks. After a while, and some negotiation, the trucks were allowed to continue.

In Falcon, there were delays and long lines in all gas stations, whether the price of the gasoline being sold was subsidized in the local currency, or international prices (US$0,50 a liter).

Rafael Navarro, an administrator of the San Miguel gas station, said he only received 13,000 liters of gasoline, and it would take him a week to supply all of the people waiting. They only have two points of purchase for the bio-pago system.

El Pitazo toured several service stations in various states, all of which militarized, and some without gasoline, with long lines of cars and motorcycles that exceeded 300 vehicles.

At the Isla del Lago, gas station located on the Coro-Punto Fijo highway, those present closed the road and tried to hijack a tanker truck, but National Guard officials dissolved the protest and spiked the tires of a car demonstrators were trying to use for to block the road.

The premium for official vehicles

In Coro, the people who had been waiting since dawn at the service stations, protested in the early hours of Wednesday, June 3, when those in charge of the gas stations reported that they would only supply official vehicles, according to the list of prioritized sent from the Falcon Governor’s Office. Something similar happening in Miranda state.

More than 100 drivers who were at the Coro, Falcon state, service station said they will remain in line for the gasoline, despite the announcement.
Most subsidized gas stations had run out of fuel by June 2, drivers complained.

Information from Liz Gascon, Irene Revilla, Lisbeth Barboza, Johana Prieto and Keren Torres.

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