MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez told the Cabinet on Monday that the government would step in to ease the fuel shortages caused by a strike at state-owned oil company ANCAP.
“We need to take measures so the people are not left without gasoline or gas,” Vazquez said, adding that he supported Industry, Energy and Mining Minister Carolina Cosse.
Cold weather and winter floods in Uruguay “could lead to an onset of respiratory diseases,” Vazquez said in justifying the measures to deal with the situation.
ANCAP workers are demanding to keep their current health plan, which the Vazquez administration plans to transfer to a private company on June 30.
Federico de Castro, manager of the UNVENU gasoline dealers association, told EFE that Montevideo, Canelones, San Jose, Colonia and Lavalleja provinces, as well as part of Rocha province, were the areas most affected by fuel shortages.
Some cities in central Uruguay have almost run out of fuel, De Castro said.
Almost 95 percent of service stations in the area have no gasoline and it will take three to four days to restore the normal supply, De Castro said.