“Those who pay in dollars, over here! “, yelling, military and police officers in the crowd waiting to refuel at a service station in Caracas. In Venezuela, the complaints of motorists and tails endless rhythm on the first day of the rising price of gasoline, up here almost for free.
Despite having huge reserves, the oil country, the production of which has collapsed, is experiencing a severe shortage of fuel, exacerbated by the consequences of the pandemic of sars coronavirus on the economic life.
In the Face of this shortage – attributed to corruption and mismanagement by the experts and the u.s. sanctions by the government – the socialist president Nicolas Maduro has set Saturday, an international prize, 50 cents of dollar per liter of gasoline. Sign of the end of the State monopoly on the sale of fuels, some 200 stations-services, “managed by private contractors”, can now freely sell at this price.
At the same time, a system of grants on the basis of 5000 bolivars (the 0.025 dollar) per litre, allows for the purchase of 120 litres per month for cars and 60 litres for motorcycles. Provided, however, register in advance to benefit from it.
A form of ” discrimination “, judge Etna Gómez, 51, who travelled from early dawn in a service station with the hope of filling the 40-litre tank, and which saw over a hundred cars in front of it.
In the international rate, it should be 20 dollars, a luxury inaccessible to many in a country where the minimum wage does not exceed the approximately 4 dollars monthly.
In the stations authorized to receive foreign currency, motorists are paying in dollars are waiting in queues separate from those who pay in bolivars.
“30 litres, no more”
To buy gasoline that is subsidized, the drivers – who have to this day, dedicated, according to their license plate – need to ask a finger on a device that takes fingerprints and confirm that they are registered on a digital platform created by the government. “A mechanism of social control “, has down the opposition.
In a popular neighbourhood of Caracas, Oswaldo Torrealba, 56 years old, wanted to fill the tank of 150 litres of his old ambulance. He tried his luck in three stations. But “they have put me as 30 litres, no more,” he complained.
In a service station east of the capital, closed since march 17, Orlando Mujica dusted off the pumps. He said he was “glad” to come back after two months without work. “Thank you to God and to Iran,” he said, in reference to the five tankers sent by Tehran, an ally of Maduro, to deliver gasoline and other petroleum products.
Having heard on the radio that the pumps were re-opened, after several weeks of closure, Antony Moreno, a sushi delivery guy, 27 years of age, decided to go for the full-of its motorcycle.
But between the queues are endless and it problems preventing the payment by credit card – vital in Venezuela due to the shortage of tickets – he had to give up after visiting several stations.
“Another thing that they have spoilt “, plague Antony, in anger against the government.
The Oil minister, Tareck El Aissami, said that the first day of the new rates was a success: “there has been no incident,” he commended in a statement released to the television public.
After paying up to three dollars per litre of gasoline on the black market, a tariff is prohibitive related to the shortage, Luis Yagual, a seller of fruits of 29 years, to him, is the tail without hiding his discomfort. “Venezuela produces gasoline, what have they done? “