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Page added on December 29, 2008

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VENEZUELA: The Cost of the World

CARACAS (IPS) – The world


For the past 10 years, gasoline has cost between three and four cents of a dollar per litre. Soft drinks cost 20 times more, a bottle of mineral water 25 times more, and an espresso in a local cafe 30 times more.


Customers often leave more in tips to service station attendants than what they actually pay in gas.


“Gasoline is practically given away here for free,” said Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez, who has done stints as energy minister, secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and president of the state oil monopoly PDVSA.


“It is obscene to sell our gasoline this way. We might as well give it away!” President Hugo Chavez said in a January 2007 speech, when he ordered studies to be carried out into the possibility of raising domestic gas prices. However, such a move would be almost tantamount to political suicide in Venezuela.


IPS



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