January 13th, 2008: The late comandante presidente orders the elimination of all tolls in Venezuelan roadways (then under the control of state governorships), blasting them for being “an assault by the capitalist system,” and threatening to use the Army if necessary. He believed that their purpose of collecting money for road maintenance was not being kept.
January 4th, 2015: Almost seven years later, Nicolas Maduro confirms his earlier announcement that 71 road tolls would be reactivated. He points out that they would be returned to whom he calls as “true, hard-working governors”.
History comes full circle: What once was seen as an ideological blasphemy is brought back as a desperate measure of pure fiscal necessity. The fact that the tollbooths are returning to the states is the way the central government is telling them “Don’t ask us for money. Hold on with this from now on.” After all, the states depend on Caracas for almost everything.
But looks that States won’t get much anyway, as only cargo trucks will pay at the tolls. Everybody else still gets a free pass.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.