Gasoline shortage and theft, trigger more protests in Bolivar state

Scarcity is compounded as bus drivers accuse law enforcement of intimidation tactics as well as of stealing whatever gasoline they happen to have left on the “Troncal 10” highway that leads from Venezuela into Brazil.

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By Carlos Suniaga.

Ciudad Guayana.- Bus drivers covering the Troncal 10 highway in Bolivar state staged a protest on Thursday against local and national law enforcement as well as to denounce the acute gasoline shortage in the region, which is entering its fourth month and affecting some 1,500 drivers.

“We publicly denounce the abuse from National Guard officials, state police, DGCIM (military counter-intelligence, now widely deployed near the borders) and the CICPC (Venezuela’s national criminal and judicial investigation agency). In different checkpoints we are treated like criminals when we are workers of the steering wheel,” Eladio Medina, representative of a bus drivers’ union, said during a street protest.

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According to Medina, Bolivar state Governor Justo Noguera is not doing enough to assuage the grave situation since even in gas stations reserved only for bus service the lines can last up to three days, impacting the citizenry’s capability to mobilize.

“What we want is for the authorities to know, through this protest, that there are officials in the checkpoints that steal our gasoline, which we obtain one way or another. We know there is a gasoline shortage, but we have to lend a service to the people, so logically we need to find that fuel,” Medina protested, adding that drivers are threatened with jail if they don’t give up their gasoline.

“It’s impossible to cover the Troncal 10 route without at least one jerry can of gasoline,” Medina added.

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