Home » News » Chavista, military and guerrilla groups took over the fuel business in Venezuela: “Each one runs service stations on the border”

Chavista, military and guerrilla groups took over the fuel business in Venezuela: “Each one runs service stations on the border”

Gasoline cans or pimp on border roads (Photo by Frontera Viva)

The business of smuggling fuel and anything on the border has been transforming in the last almost three years. It is more profitable than drug trafficking, but it ruins and impacts the economy, while destroying the society of Tachi, in the same way as drugs. The weeks and days at service stations can be transformed into minutes if you pay a thousand percent the price of fuel, entering the network of corruption imposed in the state of Táchira, a border territory with Colombia.

In the network of corruption in the handling of fuel, the so-called “collective”, At the service of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Psuv) as shock groups, but also for city beautification crews as electoral propaganda. “That is the way in which the groups charge, because they do not belong to budget payrolls”.

The ELN has found the most profitable of businesses in the control of trails and fuel stations. “It is one of the important resources they obtain, because even if it is a surcharge, nobody is going to point them out for committing a crime that is almost permissively institutionalized,” he tells Infobae a neighborhood leader who belonged to the network of leaders of Chavismo. “I got rid of that; the military, the guerrillas, the collectives, all run a gas station and charge exaggerated prices for fuel and one there as an accomplice”.

Months go by without domestic gas, but it does not help to buy electric stoves either, because it is one of the states most affected by blackouts of 6, 12 and even 18 hours. To the head of the Los Andes Comprehensive Defense Region (REDI), Major General Ovidio Delgado Ramírez, said that they are going to start with the Plan Leña.

General Ovidio Delgado promises the Plan Leña in the absence of gas

There are WhatsApp groups where names, intermediaries and fuel stations are handled, where quotas and fuel are negotiated. There is even a delivery service run by police officers or their wives, who bring fuel and even domestic gas home. One of those numbers is 0424-7581892.

If the week is of relaxation, due to Covid-19, the quotas for those who traffic prioritized quotas, so that for 30 liters they pay 75 thousand pesos (just over 25 dollars), but in the week of rigid confinement, by not to have dispatch at service stations with a subsidized price, the quota costs more than 100,000 pesos.

At the Los Agustinos station on Industrial Avenue, they give you a ticket for which you pay between 2,600 to 2,900. That replaced the payment in pimpinas, because it is cheaper. “I paid 90 thousand for a pimpina (approximately 30 liter container), but at the gas station the pimpina costs 70, for example. You pay 5, 25 liters, that is, multiples, but only 23 liters enter, they do not return the rest ”.

You go to a business in Barrio Obrero, where after paying the amount of liters you need, you supply your name and the license plate of the vehicle. They give you a ticket that is a cardboard type with a signature; When you arrive at the service station, you give that ticket to the policeman, he removes a tab from the ticket and your car receives fuel. While he is at it, one of the “groups” approaches with a folder in hand and writes down the ticket..

Now there is a competition between Colombian and Iranian gasoline. “The Colombian is better because it yields more and that is why I prefer it. Taxi drivers always recommend the Colombian one. Because of this competition, the price at the gas stations has dropped ”, says a military man in active reserve.

Los Agustinos is one of those assigned to the military
Los Agustinos is one of those assigned to the military

The El Carmen pump

Years ago, when Táchira, a border state with Colombia, was governed by Lieutenant José Gregorio Vielma Mora, the El Carmen service station, located in the El Carmen neighborhood of San Cristóbal, the state capital, It was run by an individual named Ronmy Cañas; it was a gas station where the government’s proteges supplied fuel without any problem.

Chavismo loses the governor’s elections and the opposition Laidy Gómez arrives at regional power. Nicolás Maduro, who does not accept other triumphs than those of Chavismo, invents the figure of protector of Táchira to impose on a policeman named Freddy bernal, who had just held various positions in Chavismo, including minister of an inconsequential portfolio. Thus he deprived the governor of the most important faculties of her exercise of government.

Bernal is in fact occupying, without having chosen in free elections, everything that power and the great industry that the border generates means, displaces Vielma’s allies, accuses some of them as corrupt, puts them in prison or forces them to leave of the state.

But the Protectorate needs resources, a budget that is not justified or planned and also maintains a network of subordinates who must be paid, and not at any price, who are willing to do anything “in defense of the revolution”; that’s the perfect excuse to take control of money-giving businesses, albeit surreptitiously.

This is where cases such as the El Carmen bomb come into play, controlled by officials of the Special Actions Forces (FAES). In that service station, before arriving El Protector, the most expensive coffee in the world was sold, which you had to buy at a small kiosk located a few meters from the dispensers. A black coffee cost 50 thousand pesos (about 17 dollars) and was accompanied by a ticket to enter the service station without queuing.

Since entering Venezuela, the industry of collectives, military and guerrillas that control the border is activated
Since entering Venezuela, the industry of collectives, military and guerrillas that control the border is activated

But with Bernal the situation changed. “The gas station passed to other hands, including those of Jhon, the Táriba registrar, but now they have been modernized”, Highlights a journalist from the area.

They no longer sell coffee with the ticket, now an appointment is made with a young man named Cristian, who is contacted by whatsapp at the number 0414-7391711, he gives him the address of a business called Detailsgranos, which is in La Concordia near Central Hospital, where you must go to pay the amount of 2,600 to 2,900 Colombian pesos per liter and there they give you a personalized key, that is the magic word that opens the doors of the pump and releases the pump. For example, 40 liters can cost you 110 thousand pesos, a little more or a little less, depending on the price of the day.

When you arrive at the El Carmen station, there is a large man with a transmission equipment in hand, who greets you and you must say the password that they gave you in DetailedGranos and thus allow you to pass. “Go to that pump”Says the man with the radio transmitter, at the same time indicating the one that is attached to the right and closest to the building. The islero, as those who are in charge of managing the pump are known, nod his head and there the customer repeats the password. The young man immediately takes the hose and inserts the nozzle into the fuel tank, but not before making sure to mark the exact amount of fuel that he is going to supply according to what you paid.

Price varies

The so-called “colectivos” have small groups, 2 or 3 cars per month., in the service stations established for exclusive cases, that is, police, ambulances, firefighters, etc. They sell these quotas to third parties willing to pay an amount above the established.

“For example, I supply 40 liters to 100,000 Colombian pesos (just over 30 dollars), because bolivars do not accept. And it went down because it was 140 thousand. He identified me with the firefighter to whom he paid the 4,000 official pesos, the rest he paid to the group, ”a neighbor from the Las Lomas sector tells Infobae, who says that this is arranged in advance before arriving at the gas station.

In the case of the pump in Los Agustinos, it is in the hands of the military, who charge 4,000 pesos per liter.

The price varies depending on who runs the service station, if they are military or civilian, if they are collectives or guerrillas, if there is flexibility due to Covid or rigid quarantine.

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