Ticking Time Bomb in Venezuela: Gasoline Shortage Worsens and Pandemic Spikes

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Gasoline shortages are becoming more acute across Venezuela (Twitter).

Spanish – An uptick in coronavirus cases amid the most severe gasoline shortages exacerbates the crisis in the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. Venezuela also had the privilege of having the cheapest fuel on the planet. Today, neither the abundant reserves nor the exhausted subsidies are of any use.

During the quarantine, Venezuelans have to move around in their vehicles. However, they suffer an ordeal when they want to fill gasoline in their vehicles. The least pessimistic scenario is accepting that they will have to spend three or more days in long queues. The task can be more frustrating. Some people use up their reserve fuel only to find “no gas” signs.

Meanwhile, cases of coronavirus are on the rise. Nicolás Maduro’s regime admits an average of 1,000 new infections per day. However, the Academy of Physical, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, cited by El Nacional, estimates that the figure may have passed the 4,000 daily cases. The same institution warns that by December, the pandemic could reach a peak of 14,000 infections per day in Venezuela.

Instability and failure to operate plants

On Thursday, the newspaper El Nacional published an interview with Ivan Freites, general secretary of the Union of Oil and Gas Workers of the state of Falcon. The Paraguaná Refinery Complex, which used to be the second-largest refinery in the world, is located in this state.

Freites’ concern outlines the gravity of the situation. “The result of the instability of production and the failure to operate the plants is that gasoline production in the country is at very low quantities.”

The prognosis points to a worsening of the problem. The union leader maintains that production at the refineries remains very unstable, and the sanctions have tied the regime’s hands to continue betting on imports.

Iranian faucet turned off

Iran has tried to come to Maduro’s rescue. Challenging the United States, the Venezuelan regime celebrated the arrival of five Iranian oil tankers in May, going so far as to send fighter planes to escort the ships once they entered Venezuelan Caribbean waters. But the 1.5 million barrels of gasoline lasted a little over two months.

Tehran and Caracas tried to repeat this feat in mid-August but did not meet the same fate. U.S. authorities confiscated four Iranian ships on the high seas for violating sanctions imposed by Washington while they were heading with gasoline to Venezuela, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

The U.S. government stated that the shipment was organized by an Iranian businessman linked to the Revolutionary Guard, considered by Washington to be a terrorist organization. With this recent confiscation, President Donald Trump increased the pressure against the regimes in Teheran and Caracas, both with numerous sanctions imposed by the White House.

This post was originally posted on PanAm Post – View Original Article

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About the Author

Have lived and invested in Venezuela full time for the last eight years and visited for each of twelve years prior to that. Studied and closely followed developments in Venezuela since 1996.