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03 Nov 2018 | 05:58 PM UTC

Venezuela: Major fuel shortages nationwide

Major fuel shortages reported nationwide, including in the capital Caracas; related protests, other unrest likely in coming days and weeks

security
transportation
VEN

Event

Venezuela is facing a severe nationwide fuel shortage, leading to long lines at gas stations and related unrest as of early November. Although the situation is being felt nationwide, fuel supplies are reportedly running lowest in the states of Carabobo, Táchira, Aragua, Miranda, Trujillo, Cojedes, Zulia, and Lara. The crisis is reportedly less severe in the capital Caracas, where the government is attempting to minimize the impact of the shortages in a bid to prevent outbreaks of violent unrest. However, an increasing number of gas stations have been forced to close even in Caracas due to a lack of supply, and long lines are reported at those that remain open. Altercations have been reported at some gas stations amid long waits to refuel, and some regions have witnessed significant unrest. For example, in San Cristóbal (Táchira state), residents have been staging daily protests since October 29, blocking roads using empty gas cylinders.

Continued fuel shortages and associated transportation disruptions are to be expected across the country in the near-term. Related unrest, which could turn violent, is likely.

Context

Venezuela is experiencing a political and economic crisis that has resulted in shortages of food, medicine, gasoline, and other basic necessities, as well as extreme rates of violent crime and social unrest. The country's current fuel shortage has worsened as the state-owned oil refineries have been forced to reduce their production rates; as of early November, they are operating at less than one-quarter of their capacity.  

Advice

Individuals present in Venezuela are advised to fill up vehicle tanks whenever gasoline is available, ensure a sufficient level of fuel reserves before embarking on long journeys, and postpone nonessential travel until the situation stabilizes. It is also advisable to be vigilant at gas stations, where confrontations between drivers are possible.

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