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Saturday, 31 July, 2021

The crisis of domestic gas in Venezuela intensifies

Venezuelans are cooking with wood or electric stoves. The nationalized gas companies have decreased the production and distribution of domestic gas. And what little there is, is priced in dollars, out of reach for the vast majority of Venezuelans.

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Failures in the supply of water, electricity, gasoline, and domestic gas are the daily complaints by citizens in different regions of the country. Venezuela regressed to an age when cooking with firewood is often the only alternative. Pollution, respiratory diseases, and deforestation are becoming a serious problem as a result of the shortage. Gas supply has become almost non-existent.

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Venezuelans demand a solution to the authorities about the situation that has become critical in a country that is the eighth in natural gas reserves.

In the worst cases, the poorest among the poor have had to resort to cooking by burning garbage, a highly toxic practice, health-care specialists say.

And when the cooking gas cylinders or bottles magically appear in the black market, only a few can afford them, as they cost between $10 to $20. More than half of the Venezuelan labor force makes only $2 a month.

The crisis has hit almost every Venezuelan region:

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Miranda: in Los Teques and Valles del Tuy, complaints about gas have been recurrent. Filling up your cylinder with gas can cost from $5 to $20. In early February, neighbors shut down the Ocumare-Charallave highway in both directions to demand domestic gas.

Sucre: in Santa Fe, a municipality of the same name in the state, the community council charges three dollars to refill a 10-kilo gas cylinder.

Portuguesa: In Portuguesa state, it costs between $2 to $9 to fill up your gas bottle.

Anzoátegui: Neighbors are attacking gas lines in and around El Tigre, the top natural-gas producing region in Venezuela, tired of cooking with firewood. Community spokesman Orlando Ferrer says people there cannot afford to refill or buy the cylinders.

Carabobo: In coastal, Central-Venezuela Carabobo state cooking with a Diesel stove has also become an option, despite the smell they produce when. Neighbors say this is preferable over an electric stove because they can keep on cooking despite the frequent blackouts. Some areas report that they have not had a cooking gas distribution service since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Lara: since December, the inhabitants of the Palavecino municipality have also been using improvised diesel stoves. They have been without gas for more than four months, and the blackouts prevent them from using electric stoves.

Monagas: Retired, pensioned, or minimum wage earners can’t afford the odd cooking gas cylinder when it is available in one of the states that has the largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

Bolívar: Neighbors told El Pitazo that at least 500 families of La Granja neighborhood in San Felix have been without domestic gas service for a year. In all the houses, they abandoned conventional stoves, and now they are cooking in the backyards. The neighbors revealed that they have had to cut down trees in their backyards and other green areas of the sector to have firewood to make the bonfires they use to prepare food.

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