Víctor Quintero works as a motorcycle taxi driver in Caracas, but says work has now become difficult because of long lines to buy fuel.
“I’ve been to more than five gas stations, and there are lines everywhere. This is not normal in Caracas […]. It shouldn’t be like this. We are an oil-exporting country,” Quintero told Voice of America.
Venezuela’s fuel shortage has reached the country’s capital, which had been spared the lines and rationing.
During 2019, at least 18 out of 24 states in Venezuela have experienced a gas shortage, although Venezuela is an oil-exporting country and OPEC founding member. Caracas residents fear that restrictions on buying fuel will last longer.
“We went to about six [gas stations], and the waiting time here was around 25 minutes. In general, [you need to] try [to fill up the tank] at gas stations where you see that they have gas, even when the tank isn’t empty. Why? There are many stations that can’t get supplied,” said Edward García, another Venezuelan citizen.
Marvis Arroyo recalled that “the situation was associated with towns. But this rarely happened in Caracas. I’m seeing that the situation is getting difficult at several gas stations here in Caracas.”
Experts consulted by VOA warn that the situation might get worse, as only two of the seven refineries in the country are operating and working at only 10 percent capacity.
“The country has been depending on tankers coming from abroad. Nowadays, fewer and fewer tankers want to come to Venezuela because of the sanctions, and the incoming gas probably comes from the Russian company Rosneft,” said José Toro Hardy, an economist and former director of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
Pro-Maduro governors of some Venezuelan states say that authorities are taking measures to improve the gas supply. PDVSA hasn’t made a statement about the shortage noted in the Venezuelan capital.