Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan gasoline and goods still sold in Colombia despite crackdown

Venezuelan gasoline and goods still sold in Colombia despite crackdown

Miguel is a pimpinero, a curbside vendor of contraband Venezuelan gasoline that he sells at two-thirds of the going price at Colombian gas stations.

Despite a professed government crackdown, hundreds of bootleggers openly hawk their black market fuel on the streets of this sun-bleached border city.

The nickname comes from pimpin, the slang word for the 6-gallon plastic containers that Miguel stacks on a busy street corner. A steady stream of cars and cabs stop for a fill-up, which he pours with the help of a makeshift funnel of a bottomless plastic Coke bottle fitted to a hose. The cost: $2.75 per gallon rather than $4.25.

"It's cheaper and it's...

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