By Carlos Suniaga.
Drivers who have been waiting in a kilometer-long line for four days at the Las Americas service station, located in Bolivar state, protested this October 6, after the gas station served 200 drivers and then closed its doors.
Another 100 citizens who had been in line since Friday, October 2, did not get their cars refueled either.
Bolivar sits atop the largest oil reserves of Venezuela, and yet, the gasoline shortage that began in January, when production of the fuel stopped locally, has only gotten worse, even if now what was once the cheapest gasoline on the planet is sold at US-equivalent prices of $0.50 a liter.
The Maduro regime has import gasoline from Iran twice to assuage the protests, the first such shipments of Iranian fuels to Latin America in history.
Demonstrators felt threatened by the presence of officers from and military agencies that have been accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations. Officials from the National Guard, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, and the FAES Special Action Forces watched the demonstrations and took pictures of the protesting drivers.
“It’s not fair, I’ve been here since Friday of last week. How are they going to tell us now that the gas station didn’t have enough gas?” said Luis Villarroel, a driver who participated in the protest.
“They also promised us that those of us who couldn’t get gas today could maybe get some tomorrow, we hope,” said Villarroel, who will stand in line to refuel on Thursday, October 7. Another group of citizens who had been lining up also complained.
“I don’t have a week waiting in line, but I also have a right, because today it is my turn to get my license plate number. Now I have to go back to my house and wait for next week,” said Lithuania Carrero, a sexagenarian who lined up since early Tuesday morning.
At another two service stations, there was also a demonstration by users. Officials from the National Guard, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, and the Special Action Forces watched the protest and took pictures of the users.
In Bolivar, the sale of gasoline did not start as announced by Nicolas Maduro minister, Tareck El Aissami. Most of the gas stations remained closed on Monday, October 5. Only three gas stations were opened in Ciudad Bolivar, after the head of the Integral Defense Operating Zone (Zodi) Bolivar, Humberto Nuñez, authorized the owners of those pumps to sell the fuel they had in the subway tanks, to avoid further protests.
The Zodi military defense zone in Bolivar acknowledged in a statement on October 4 that there was no gasoline to begin delivery on Monday and recommended that citizens not line up until authorities officially announced the start of the sale of the fuel.