Fuel shortages fears after US oil sanctions

31 January 2019 | Economics

Esteban Rojas - United States sanctions aimed at pressuring Nicolas Maduro to capitulate in his power struggle with self-proclaimed acting-president Juan Guaido have Venezuelans fearing they may be left facing fuel shortages.

Whether they support the US sanctions or not, Venezuelans interviewed by AFP agreed on one thing: with a devastated economy, hyperinflation the International Monetary Fund predicts will reach 10 million percent in 2019 and shortages of food and medicines, this will only make things worse.

The US imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA on Monday in an attempt to cut off a vital source of funds propping up Maduro's government.

Proceeds from the purchase of Venezuelan oil will now be withheld from Maduro, a heavy blow given that more than 40% of the South American country's crude is sold to the US.


And while Irene Mendez fears it will become impossible to buy petrol in the coming weeks, she says it will be worth it.

"It will be really strange," she said. "We're used to petrol being really cheap and, on top of that, it's available."

Fuel in Venezuela is practically free: one US dollar can buy more than 300 million liters of fuel but only a kilogram of onions.

The 40-year-old accountant, who supports Guaido, says any "sacrifice is worth it" to force through political change.

Gonzalo Lovera, a 68-year-old truck driver, says the sanctions are "illogical".

He wants the government to engage in dialogue with the opposition and is disappointed in Guaido's decision to proclaim himself acting president.

He said that in political struggles, "those who are disadvantaged are us: the people".

More than 40 people were killed and 850 detained in anti-Maduro protests last week, according to the United Nations.

Most of the deaths happened on the day that Guaido pronounced himself acting president, a move quickly backed by the US and a dozen Latin American countries.

Guaido, president of the National Assembly legislature, accuses Maduro of being a "usurper" over his reelection last May.

The poll was boycotted by the opposition in protest at the detention, barring and exile of many of their most prominent leaders.

Public services

As well as a shortage of basic necessities, Venezuela has suffered failing public services, with 90% of its public transport system paralysed due to the scarcity and high cost of spare parts.

Lovera is afraid that fuel shortages will add to the problem and "worsen" public transport.

For Jorge Moncada, another truck driver, the sanctions are an economic "checkmate".

He says there are "already places where you can spend up to 24 hours" waiting in line for fuel.

Since 2012, fuel supply failures have been chronic in the cities of San Cristobal and Maracaibo, near the border with Colombia, with unending queues of vehicles at petrol stations.

Despite the constant tensions between Washington and Caracas since the socialist regime of Hugo Chaves came to power 20 years ago, the US has remained Venezuela's biggest single oil client.

But with the US demanding Maduro relinquish power in order to lift the sanctions, "if there isn't a political change soon, we'll have serious fuel problems", said analyst Asdrubal Oliveros from the Ecoanalitica consultancy.

US purchases actually account for 80% of Venezuela's liquidity, according to Ecoanalitica, since exports to allies Russia and China are principally used to pay off debts.

Similar News


Mutorwa inaugurates new Transportation Commission

13 hours ago | Economics

Minister of works and transport John Mutorwa inaugurated the newly-appointed members of the Transportation Commission of Namibia.President Hage Geingob appointed the members in accordance with...

DBN supports Omboga powdered spinach soup

13 hours ago | Economics

Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has celebrated the culmination of its support to 2018 Innovation Award winner VNA Foods at the launch of the fledgling...

Libya seeks to revive oil industry

13 hours ago | Economics

Libya's National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260 000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks...

Uganda's public debt surges in coronavirus crisis

13 hours ago | Economics

Uganda's public debt surged 20.5% in the 12 months to June as the east African country soaked up new credit to help deal with the...

Payroll deductions strengthens the collateral base

1 day - 28 September 2020 | Economics

Payroll deductions strengthen the collateral base of borrowers, which has a major impact on credit deepening, a report on Namibia’s experience with microlending and payroll...

Shivute vows to hunt tax dodgers

1 day - 28 September 2020 | Economics

OGONE TLHAGEThe newly appointed commissioner of the Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra), Sam Shivute, has vowed to chase after tax defaulters in his new position. ...

Kamanjab residents owe N$ 10 mln for water

1 day - 28 September 2020 | Economics

The outstanding water bill of Kamanjab residents has accumulated to N$ 10 million after local authorities were given a directive to reconnect water for residents...

Agriculture, ICT, health drives growth

1 day - 28 September 2020 | Economics

The Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA) recorded improved performances in the agriculture and forestry, Information and communication technology (ICT) and health sectors, according to the Producer...

Nigeria's central bank cuts lending rate

1 day - 28 September 2020 | Economics

By Alexis AkwagyiramNigeria's central bank cut its benchmark lending rate by 100 basis points to 11.5% in a surprise move aimed at stimulating growth in...

Government wage index increases in Q2

4 days ago - 25 September 2020 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU The government wage index stood at 133.0 basis points during the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 0.9 percent, compared to an...

Latest News

DBN supports Omboga powdered spinach...

13 hours ago | Economics

Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has celebrated the culmination of its support to 2018 Innovation Award winner VNA Foods at the launch of the fledgling...

PG Imalwa faces exit

13 hours ago | Government

WINDHOEKELLANIE SMITWith the term of Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa ending this year, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has advertised the position of the principal state legal...

Namibian link in SA sex...

13 hours ago | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE AND TUYEIMO HAIDULAWINDHOEK/OSHAKATISouth Africa's elite Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, has unravelled a transborder trafficking syndicate, with some of...

Knowledge is not in my...

13 hours ago | Politics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKIndependent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Panduleni Itula says he is not open to debating Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Ipinge, who he...

Remaining powerful through education

13 hours ago | People

Ester Kamati With a key interest in space science and the history of science, watching videos on these topics is Hosea Hashili’s favourite pastime. Hasili...

Libya seeks to revive oil...

13 hours ago | Economics

Libya's National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260 000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks...

Few options for the voter

13 hours ago | Opinion

With only two months left before the November regional and local authority elections, there seems to be limited political choices for the voter.There remains a...

Join the Jerusalema challenge!

13 hours ago | Events

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKIf there's one glimmer of positivity at the moment, it's the team spirit and feeling of unity created by the Jerusalema challenge, which is...

Day of the Namibian Child

13 hours ago | Opinion

Lee-Ann Forbes Being able to go to school and to get free education. And having rights that protect me as a Namibian child. Also being...

Load More