The oil-rich nation of Venezuela could soon run out of gasoline due to a chronic lack of production and a failure to pay shipping costs for imports, according to an industry leader.
Iván Freites, a representative of the Movement for Technical and Oil Workers, said in a press conference that the country could soon run out of gasoline because the government is refusing to pay the necessary shipping cost in order to refine their oil.
“There is only one more day’s worth of gas and two and a half days worth of diesel,” Freites said. “At the Cardon refinery, ships have been stationary since June because they do not pay the shipping costs.”
Freites added that Venezuela now imports just 150 barrels of gasoline a day, given that major refinery plants are running below capacity or not at all due to soaring production costs. As a result of this lack of production, Venezuela’s state oil company has already lost $5 billion worth of oil exports.
Freites, a trade unionist, added that Venezuelan oil workers are being exploited on wages of less than a dollar a day, compared to countries like Mexico and the Arab states where they earn upwards of $6000 a year.
“The situation in Venezuela is so serious that there are transnationals that pay the worker $20 a month,” he said.
He also warned the government against an increase in the price of gasoline as it is the only product that has not experienced mass inflation amid the country’s unprecedented economic crisis.
The shortage of gasoline will likely cause further problems for the socialist regime led by Nicolás Maduro, which recently consolidated its authority with the creation of an illegal lawmaking body filled with pro-government stooges.
As a result, the White House has pummelled Venezuela with a number of sanctions including a ban on Americans from dealing in Venezuelan government debt or that of its state-run oil company, as well as personal sanctions placed against Maduro and other government officials.
Meanwhile, Spain has also been engaged in efforts to lobby the European Union to adopt restrictive measures against Venezuela, although have not outlined what they will entail.
Gasoline is just one of a number of resources to be in short supply across Venezuela, with chronic shortages of food, medicine, and sanitary products leading to the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s recent history. With the Venezuelan Bolivar losing over 99.9 percent of its worth since 2010 amid skyrocketing inflation, the country’s minimum wage has now fallen to approximately $3.43 a month, equivalent to just over 30 cents a day.