Saturday, 26 September 2020

‘This Is Going To End Ugly’: Venezuela’s Power Outage Drags On

Venezuela has been in the grip of a crippling blackout for four days — and the humanitarian situation there is growing increasingly dire.

A worker inspects damage in a supermarket in Caracas on Sunday after it was looted during Venezuela’s dayslong blackout. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Signs of the crisis are everywhere you look in the Venezuelan capital. “Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational,” NPR’s Philip Reeves reported from the city.

“Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street,” Reeves added.

Amid the power outage, people in Caracas push a car without fuel to one of the few gas stations that has its own electric generator. Eduardo Verdugo/AP

The power outage has affected water pumps in some Caracas neighborhoods, meaning that people are waiting to fill water bottles at public locations such as springs. Schools and public offices remained closed on Monday, according to Reeves.

- paying the bills -

The precarious humanitarian situation is worsening as the country remains in a political stalemate. The crisis pits embattled President Nicolás Maduro against opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who took the oath of office at a rally in January and is backed by the U.S. and dozens of other countries that recognize him as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

A man collects water in El Ávila National Park during Venezuela’s blackout, which has affected the water pumps in people’s homes and apartment buildings. Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Much of the country was plunged into darkness Thursday, reportedly after major problems coming from the country’s primary hydroelectric power plant, Reeves said. It’s not clear whether the issue is with the plant itself or the transmission lines leading from it, according to Reuters.

Maduro’s government has said the outage is the result of sabotage by the U.S., though it hasn’t provided evidence to back that claim. “While the promoters of hate, death and violence delight in their destabilization plans, President Nicolás Maduro has ordered a deployment of ministers to ensure the Venezuelan people are attended to,” Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez said in a televised address, as Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the opposition has said the blackout is the result of years of incompetence that has caused the power grid to deteriorate.

People block a street in Caracas on Sunday to show their anger about the power outage. Carlos Jasso/Reuters

“The regime at this hour, days after a blackout without precedent, has no diagnosis,” Guaidó told reporters on Sunday, as Reuters reported.

- paying the bills -

Residents in some areas have seen sporadic restoration of power — while people in other places are growing more desperate and angry. It’s a harrowing situation for anyone counting on electricity for health needs.

A mother waits with her child in the emergency room of Caracas’ University Hospital during a continued power outage on Sunday. Venezuelans are now in the fourth day of a major blackout with no independent explanation for the power outage, though many Venezuelans suspect it’s simply part of the country’s long deterioration. Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to The Wall Street Journal, the independent health watchdog Codevida said that “15 dialysis patients have died as a result of the blackout and some 10,000 more were at risk if they continue without treatment.”

Venezuela is struggling with hyperinflation, and many people had trouble obtaining basic necessities even before the latest political crisis. Now there are reports of looted supermarkets in Caracas. Images taken by a photographer for Reuters show a worker using a flashlight to inspect a supermarket that was hit in the capital.

Another photo, from Bloomberg, shows a long row of people lying facedown in the street after they were detained for alleged looting in the Santa Cruz del Este neighborhood of Caracas. Their hands are bound behind them, and their shirts are pulled over their heads to cover their faces as security officials stand over them.

People lie on the ground after being detained for allegedly looting a supermarket on Sunday. Adriana Loureiro Fernández/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“The food we had in our refrigerators has spoiled. Businesses are closed. There’s no communication, not even by cell phone,” 49-year-old Ana Cerrato told Reuters. “We need help! We are in a humanitarian crisis!”

It’s a crisis that, as Cerrato noted, is taking place with very limited communication. As the Journal reported, Internet-usage tracker NetBlocks said just 12 percent of Venezuela’s Internet network was connected as of Monday.

- paying the bills --

Some Venezuelans are bracing for the worst.

“This is going to end ugly. It’s going to be ugly at the end,” designer Nela Garcia told Reeves over the weekend. “My daughter that is now living here, she has a kid. And she’s pregnant. … She’s always worried. Now we don’t have light. We don’t have water. So it’s very hard to live here with all these, you know, situations.”

Source: NPR

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

Q24N
Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Nicolas Maduro’s main front man, Alex Saab, is arrested in Africa

Authorities in Cape Verde have arrested a businessman, singled out...

Maduro’s Infiltrators Join Violent Protests in the U.S.

The Nicolás Maduro regime infiltrated Chavista agents into the U.S. protests...

MOST READ

Tax hike an uphill race for government to negotiate with the IMF

(QCOSTARICA) A varied and wide outbreak of criticism and manifestations of discontent arose almost simultaneously with the presentation of the proposal prepared by the...

Bolivia descends into chaos ahead of elections

(Q24N) With roughly one month to go until the Bolivian general election, the country is descending into violent political strife. On September 20, for...

Aftermath of COVID-19: the nightmare that survivors go through

(QCOSTARICA) Achieving the status of "recovered" from COVID-19 does not always mean that the person will be able to immediately return to their normal...

Blame the drivers: It’s not the posts, but the lack of road safety education

(QCOSTARICA) The installment of the flexible delineator folding posts on the Ruta 32, at a cost of ¢177 million colones Sunday morning is failing...

Banks warn about the proposed temporary tax on financial transactions

The government of Carlos Alvarado is proposing a set of new taxes, that include a temporary tax (4 years) on banking transactions, to obtain...

When will tourists from more US destinations be allowed? This is what the ICR says

(QCOSTARICA) One of the main connection points between Costa Rica and the United States is the state of Florida. However, that state is still...

Let's Keep This Going!

To be updated with all the latest news and information about Costa Rica and Latin America.

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.