By Carlos Suniaga.
Trucks loaded with gasoline has been diverted to the areas of gold exploitation, Bolivar state lawmaker, Rachid Yasbek, denounced on August 19.
The lawmaker said that the fuel shortage in the region is becoming more acute. “The gandolas (tanker trucks) are going directly to the mining alliances,” Yasbek said.
In 2016, the Nicolas Maduro regime opened more than 12% of Venezuelan territory to a gold mining project called the Orinoco Mining Arc. But, according to Human Rights Watch and the United Nations, the project resulted in human rights abuses, such as massacres of indigenous peoples, ecological disasters, slave labor, drugs, and human trafficking.
“Before the price increase, a truck in that area cost one kilo of gold, but today we have information that it can cost up to two kilos of gold,” said the legislator. Yasbek assured that the gasoline that arrives at the Bolivar mines is re-sold in dollars, which generates a lucrative and illegal business.
He explained that since Venezuela officially began selling gasoline at international prices, the price of fuel on the black market increased. He added that, in the case of Bolivar state, only 60% of the gas stations are opening to the public, but none are operating at full capacity.
“So we can say that the shortage of gasoline is not a product of a blockade. This is the result of the deterioration of the Venezuelan refineries,” said the lawmaker. Yasbek also said that those who benefit from the gasoline business are the military.