Venezuela Bikers Gunned Down for Spare Parts

Motorcycle parts are hot commodity in recession-hit country
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2015 10:43 AM CDT
Venezuela Bikers Gunned Down for Spare Parts
In this photo taken June 26, 2013, motorcyclists zoom between lanes on a highway in Caracas, Venezuela.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuela is running low on motorcycle parts, which is, in turn, likely only making its coffin shortage worse. Motorcycle riders are being gunned down for their bikes as a recession wreaks havoc on the South American country, reports Reuters. "They're killing those of us in the street to steal our bike because there are no bikes or spare parts," says Jorge Montaño, the leader of the country's National Socialist Federation of Motorbikers, which is said to have millions of members. He explains "well-dressed women" request a motorcycle taxi ride to a destination where a thief is waiting to steal the bike from its owner. "Sometimes our companions don't want to hand over the motorcycle and they shoot them in the legs or they kill them," he says.

Montaño notes at least 17 people have been killed for their motorbikes in the state of Vargas so far this year. Some riders now say they don't stay out on their bikes late at night and are extra vigilant when stopped at red lights. "The situation is worsening," says a biker from Caracas, who was previously held up at gunpoint for his motorcycle. "You live life minute-to-minute." Though food imports and debt servicing are now the priority in Venezuela, Montaño hopes to press President Nicolas Maduro to import spare motorcycle parts from China in the hopes of cutting down on violence. The New York Times reports Venezuela is also short on milk, condoms, and shampoo amid a massive import fraud scandal that has seen billions drained from the country. (More Venezuela stories.)

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