CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolás Maduro said that starting Monday Venezuelans will be able to buy gasoline at international market prices, marking a historic break in the socialist country's practice of having the world's cheapest fuel.
the nation, 200 filling stations will allow drivers to fuel up for the
equivalent of 50 cents a liter, or $1.90 a gallon. Venezuelans will also be
able to buy a limited amount of subsidized gasoline each month, paying 2.5
cents a liter, or 9 cents a gallon.
government will continue to pay for all fuel used by public transportation,
time has come to move toward a new policy, toward a new normality, toward a new
situation," Maduro said in a Saturday state TV broadcast, calling it a
step to “regularizing” the costs.
has the world’s largest underground oil reserves, but it has been forced to buy
fuel from Iran to bridge deep shortages, unable to pump crude from the ground
and turn it into gasoline.
of five Iranian tankers is approaching Venezuela's coast, but experts say that
even those shipments will supply the nation's drivers for only a few weeks.
Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA is also attempting to restart gasoline
production with Iran's help.
accused the “imperialist” United States for leading an economic war against
Venezuela, while Maduro’s critics say years of corruption and mismanagement by
the socialist government led to the scarcities.
shortages have plagued the nation for years, but scarcity recently has even hit
the capital of Caracas, sparking mile-long lines at filling stations that last
said days earlier that he had appointed a team to consider gasoline prices.
Venezuela paid in dollars for the Iranian gasoline, Maduro said, asking for the
nation's support in this transition.
with fuel prices in the past has been an explosive subject. In 1989, riots
broke out leading to nearly 300 deaths when then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez
ordered an increase.
remains unclear how the new system will work and whether the government can
provide enough gasoline to meet demands.
leader Juan Guaidó was among critics speaking out Sunday against the new price
structure. He called it another “mockery by the dictatorship,” calling on
Venezuelans to "respond with force."
in early 2019 launched a campaign to oust Maduro with backing from the United
States among nearly 60 nations. Maduro, however, remains in power of state