Venezuela starts rationing gasoline

People push a pickup truck to get gasoline at a gas station in Acarigua, Portuguesa state, Venezuela

People push a pickup truck to get gasoline at a gas station in Acarigua, Portuguesa state, Venezuela, on May 25, 2019

  |  AFP/Arquivo

"They can only be joking," Maria says. Gasoline rationing has been put into practice in several regions of Venezuela amid severe fuel shortages in the country that holds the world's largest oil reserves.

The measure began after the death of a man who had a heart attack while waiting in a line for fuel. Since Monday, drivers from Lara state (west) can only buy 30 liters of fuel per week, while a rationing plan based on the vehicle license plate number began to be applied in the states of Bolivar (south) and Monagas (west).

The measures came into force because of shortages in areas next to the border with Colombia such as Zulia and Tachira. The situation worsened in recent weeks following US financial sanctions against Venezuela and its state oil company PDVSA.

"They can only be joking!"Maria López says, furious, after not being able to fill the tank of her car despite having spent six hours in the line of a gas station in the capital of Lara, Barquisimeto, a city with one million inhabitants.

Using her car to look for medicine for her brother, who is suffering from meningitis, Maria believes that the situation has worsened for the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Gasoline in Venezuela is practically free, since with only 1 dollar it is possible to buy approximately 600 million liters of fuel.

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