Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to increase the price of fuel in the country to international levels in a bid to avoid the annual loss of billions of dollars from smuggling the heavily subsidised product.
The president said: “Gasoline must be sold at an international price to stop smuggling to Colombia and the Caribbean.”
For decades, Venezuela has subsidised its fuel for citizens, but prices have remained the same despite hyperinflation that the International Monetary Fund has forecast to reach 1 million percent this year, which means residents can fill a small SUV 9,000 times for the same cost as a cup of coffee worth approximately 50 cents.
The government will continue to provide direct subsidies to its residents that hold the “fatherland card” – a state issued identity card used to track the use of social services.
Over one million Venezuelans have emigrated from the country, largely to surrounding Latin American countries, to escape the vast levels of crime, political violence, collapsing economy and drastic food and water shortages.