(BLOOMBERG) -- To arrive at the El Paraiso water-filling station in Caracas by sunrise, Rigoberto Sanchez wakes before 4 a.m. Hours later, his tanker is in a slow-moving line with a dozen others. Only two of the 10 pumps work and Sanchez will have time for a couple of deliveries if he’s lucky. If he’s luckier, the military won’t intercept him.
“They hijack our trucks, just like that,” said Sanchez, leaning on a rusty railing. “Once that happens, you’re in their hands, you have to drive the truck wherever they want you to.”’
Venezuela’s military has come to oversee the desperate and lucrative water trade as reservoirs empty, broken pipes flood neighborhoods and overwhelmed personnel walk out. Seven major access points in the capital of 5.5 million people are now run by soldiers or police, who also took total control of all public and private water trucks. Unofficially, soldiers direct where drivers deliver — and make them give away the goods at favored addresses.
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