US Sanctions against Venezuela blamed for fuel shortage
Due to the shortage of fuel in the country, gas stations on the island were out of fuel for a short period of time. A picture posted on Facebook alarmed islanders as it stated that from Thursday, March 1st Caribeña Enterprises, located in San Pedro Town, will only be selling premium gasoline due to the shortage of regular gasoline in the country. However, on Friday, March 2nd Caribeña Enterprise representative, Israel Alpuche clarified that the fuel shortage was short lived and that operations are back to normal.
John Mencias, in an interview with the media reiterated that GOB has no role in the current situation and explained that US sanctions against Venezuela were to blame. These sanctions mainly affect the financial markets which has limited PDVSA’s access to certain banks, causing delays in payments made to and from Venezuela. Mencias explained that PUMA, Belize’s sole fuel importer, contracts a trader called Traficgura, which then places the order to APBEL, the joint Belize-Venezuela company. From there APBEL places the order to the Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to contact the vessel to ship the fuel from Curacao to Belize. Due to the sanctions placed on Venezuela by the US, PDVSA has been unable to make payments to the owners of the vessel, Syrtos, which is why the fuel has not been offloaded in Belize. Mencias further stated that PUMA, who sources fuel from Venezuela, is searching for alternate fuel providers to purchase regular fuel from Guatemala in the meantime to ensure that supply remains uninterrupted.
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