Speaking during a congress of the ruling PSUV party yesterday, Maduro ordered a census that aims to tally every single automotive vehicle in the country, suggesting that the measure was necessary in order to ensure the “rational use” of gas in Venezuela.
Maduro’s announcement drew widespread consternation, since he also suggested that participation in the census would necessitate that ever vehicle owner in the country sign up for the carnet de la patria [Motherland I.D.], a controversial form of government identification that is seen by many regime critics as tantamount to a PSUV membership card.
We have to move towards rational, always just use [of gas], and this will necessarily impact changes in all of the vehicle transport and the carnet de la patria is the answer, the census is the answer [sic].
Launched early last year, the carnet de la patria is a piece of PSUV-issued identification that is envisioned as a one-in-all card to access government services. While the carnet was initially launched under the pretext of regulating access to subsidized food in regime-run stores, it has since expanded its presence, and is now used to access other government services and even to vote.
Since its launch, Maduro has promised Venezuelans cash, food bonuses, and even toys to anyone who signs up for the I.D. Regime critics maintain that by pressuring people to sign up for what amounts to a PSUV party membership card, the Maduro regime is effectively creating a two-tiered society in which only those who have the I.D. can access government services and subsidies.
Maduro’s latest announcement has added fuel to those fears.
Bernal Suggests Subsidy Only for Carnet de la Patria Holders
Freddy Bernal, a longstanding pillar of the PSUV and current head of the CLAP food distribution system, spoke today on the vehicle census and confirmed that it would take place August 3-5 throughout the country.
Bernal also said that once the census is complete, it would be possible to subsidize transport in the country, but only for those individuals who have a carnet de la patria.
While it’s not clear exactly what the government would be subsidizing under such a scheme (i.e., fuel or public transportation costs), Bernal did also speak on the fact that Venezuela has the lowest gas prices on the planet. He said:
It’s not possible for us to keep giving away fuel.
A litre of gas in Venezuela costs approximately $US 0.01.
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