Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

March 16, 1999.

"GAS PIRATES" DON'T JUST STEAL FROM THE RICH By Juan Antonio Sánchez, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - "Gas pirates" stole 53 tanks of liquid gas in the city of Santa Clara during January and February, according to the description in the local government weekly. It said victims included families with low incomes, retired people and some unemployed workers. The gas is widely used for cooking.

The weekly said that some thieves obtain containers fraudulently with the help of dishonest government employees and others use U.S. dollars to buy stolen tanks on the black market. The paper described one such case involving a "jinetera" (streetwalker) who was able to collect dollars for use to buy the liquid.

Some people apparently are able to find residual amounts of the fluid in tanks considered empty and "other are able to get their hands on cylinders destined for state entities."

Since this combustible is scarce, the thieves are able to find buyers of stolen tanks easily among the populace.

Juan Antonio Sánchez, Cuba Free Press.

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