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Venezuela Threatens to Halt Gasoline Supplies During Protests

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Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelans may find it harder to to fill their tanks with the world’s cheapest gasoline after the government said it might halt delivery in certain areas of the country as protests enter their 11th day tomorrow.

“We may be obligated to suspend the supply of gasoline in areas under fascist attack to preserve the security of all,” Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who also is president of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, wrote today on his Twitter account. “All PDVSA workers should be on alert of fascist plans to attack gasoline stations and fueling trucks.”

Ramirez told reporters yesterday in Caracas he was worried that attacks on government gasoline installations and transport vehicles might lead to a deadly explosion.

Demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s administration started Feb. 12 as protesters march against rising crime, inflation and shortages of basic goods such as milk and medicine. At least eight people have been killed and 137 injured in the unrest, according to government reports.

Protesters have ignited trash accumulated in the streets to block roads and at times have set fire to public and public property including buses and cars.

In Caracas, octane 95 gasoline costs 0.097 bolivar a liter (6 cents a gallon) at the official exchange rate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pietro D. Pitts in Caracas at ppitts2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net; Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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