The Venezuelan government announced today that one more person had died of COVID-19 in Venezuela, bringing the total number of dead from the disease since the outbreak began to 15. Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez also confirmed that there were 156 new cases of the disease detected in the country over the last 24 hours, for a total of 1,819.
Protests, Frustration as New Gas Station System Falters
Motorists who lined up for hours in a sometimes futile attempt to pump gas for their vehicles protested in Carabobo state as the Venezuelan government’s new gasoline subsidy and payment system showed more cracks on the second day of its deployment.
Frustrated motorists blocked a road near a gas station in Bosqueserino at around 2:00 PM:
Another road was blocked in the Flor Amraillo sector of Valencia, the state capital. In the video below, the woman filming expresses her justification for the protest:
Woman: We’re blocking the way. No is getting through. We’re closing the road. We have to act at ever gas station so that this will come to an end. First it was the police, and now it’s the military. O nos echan plomo, o nos echan gasolina [roughly, “The government has to either shoot us or give us gas”].
At a gas station in Maracay, Aragua state, protesters gathered at a gas station after it abruptly closed for the day at around 12:40 PM. A local journalist named Carlos Arana Sanchez recorded the scene:
Arana Sanchez: 12:40 PM. June 2nd. Venezuelans, residents of Maracay are here on the Maracay Avenue at the Santiago Marino gas station demanding that they be allowed to pump gas just as Nicolas Maduro promised on television. [To the protesters] What are the [people running the gas station] saying?
Woman #1: There there’s no gas.
Woman #2: That they ran out.
Man: It’s not even 1:00 PM, and look.
Woman #1: Yesterday they said that they’d stay open til 5:00 PM. And it’s 1:00 PM.
Man: It’s 1:00 PM, and they’re already out. We want gas. And there’s only one day when you can pump.
The man in the video above was referencing the fact that, under the new gas regimen, people can only pump for subsidized fuel on certain days of the week according to the last digit of their vehicle’s license plate.
In the video below, a worker from the gas station attempts to calm the crowd of frustrated motorists. When she explains to them that they can try to come back tomorrow to pump gas, the crowd reacts in consternation because according to the regulations, they can only pump gas today:
Woman: … each car could [unintelligible] as much as you want, with your subsidy, obviously. So, we ran out of gas today. Tomorrow–
Crowd: [But tomorrow we’re not allowed to pump!]
Police: Let her finish!
Woman: Ok, there’s a schedule were [if the last digits of your license plate are] are one or two you pump on Saturday; two or three, on Sunday, like that.
Police Officer: There’s gas every day, but we’re not receiving enough. That’s what I want you all to understand.
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