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Friday, 27 November, 2020

Venezuelan drivers spend eight days at the services stations to buy 20 liters of gasoline

Gasoline protests are erupting nationwide as the shortage intensifies. Monday and Tuesday fuel protests have been registered in El Tigre, Anzoategui, and Maturin, Monagas state, all of them areas located atop the Orinoco Oil Belt, the largest concentration of oil known to humankind. Drivers continue to complain about delays, corruption, and line-jumping.

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Lines do not diminish in size or quantity in the main cities of Eastern Venezuela. Drivers told El Pitazo that they spend up to eight days in a line waiting to fill their vehicles with up to 20 liters, the limit enforced on-site by Maduro regime military, and sometimes the effort is lost because the gasoline is not enough for everyone.

Venezuela is experiencing a severe gasoline shortage, despite its oil reserves and the existence of six refineries in the country. For the first time in history, Venezuela had to import gasoline from Iran and set US-equivalent prices in US dollars but, all to no avail: the shortages not only persist, but they are also intensifying.

You must read A couple waits five days and four nights on the gasoline line in the Venezuelan Andes

The situation has been the trigger for protests in service stations, such as those that occurred this Monday, November 2, in Maturin, capital of Monagas, and this Tuesday in El Tigre, Anzoategui State. Demonstrators shut down the avenue to demand the supply of the fuel because they had been waiting four days for it.

In that area, South of Anzoategui, the queues are long because the distribution in the service stations is not daily, and the drivers take up to eight days in a line, according to the number of the plate, to supply 20 or 15 liters of gasoline which is what they are selling. On the other hand, priority sectors and people with illnesses and disabilities complain because they are not getting gas.

In Maturin, motorists wait in fuel lines for up to three days, under the hot sun. Photo: courtesy of drivers.

Lines in Maturin last up to three days at the subsidized gas stations. The panorama is different in the premium stations, where citizens can spend between two and five hours waiting to refuel. The premium station charges $0.50 a liter. The minimum wage in Venezuela is less than $0.90 a month, and more than half of the labor force makes just that.

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Motorists not only protest scarcity but also perceive corruption and line jumping. On Monday, a group of drivers closed the Costo Arriba national highway in protest of the handling the military makes of the situation. “The abuse of power is an everyday issue,” said Luis Eduardo Marcano, a driver.

Drivers object to the manners of the personnel in uniform and complain that they allow for line jumping in exchange for a bribe.

In the Carupano – Paria area, in Sucre, irregularities also take place. In Guiria, municipality of Valdez, they are sold gasoline perhaps once a month, and when they do, they are rationed to only supply 15 liters to cars and 3 to the motorcycles. People spend up to three days in line when gasoline arrives.

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