People in the oil-rich nation of Venezuela are reportedly riding donkeys as an alternative method of transport amid chronic gasoline shortages caused by the socialist regime’s destruction of the state-run oil company.
Piero Maroun, a National Assembly member for the socialist Democratic Action Party, posted a photo on Twitter this weekend of people riding donkeys through the street, pointing out the ludicrousness of such scenes in the 21st century and that many Venezuelans are on salaries so low they are tantamount to slavery.
“Venezuelans are now centuries behind, riding donkeys, burning firewood, and sleeping in the dark,” he wrote. “The setback is so great that in the days of slavery, slaves earned what they needed to eat every day, and here a day’s salary doesn’t even buy breakfast.”
Los venezolanos estamos siglos atrás, montando burros, soplando leña y durmiendo en la oscuridad. Es tanto el retroceso que en la época de la esclavitud los esclavos ganaban diario lo que correspondía para comer y aquí el sueldo de un día no compra ni un desayuno. pic.twitter.com/bEAzaqCFik
— Piero Maroun (@PieroMaroun) September 19, 2020
The reported use of donkeys for transportation is connected to the lack of energy sources plaguing the country, despite the fact it has the second-largest largest oil reserves in the world after America. This is mainly the result of a collapse in production caused by many facilities belonging to state-run Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA) running at a low capacity or completely out of operation.
The most prevalent shortage is currently gasoline, forcing people to wait hours or even days to fill up their vehicles. In July, authorities in the state of Táchira suspended the sale of gasoline altogether, claiming it necessary to fight the Chinese coronavirus.
The government used to subsidize gasoline prices nearly entirely before the collapse under dictator Nicolás Maduro. The current shortages have forced the regime to enforce quotas on its sale. Although fuel prices are still relatively low (approximately $0.025 a liter), this still proves extremely costly for the millions of poverty-stricken people living on just a few dollars a month. Those who exceed the quota must now pay around $0.50 per liter.
As outlined by Maroun, many Venezuelans are also turning to fire to provide energy in their homes given the rolling power cuts that occur nationwide. A study carried out last December found that the national grid failed 80,700 times in the year 2019, often plunging the entire country into complete darkness. These blackouts effectively lead to the complete breakdown of society, with everything from public transport to hospitals brought to a standstill.