Venezula’s Electric & Communication Grid Collapsing

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

Venezuela’s electrical and communications grid goes dark, becoming another in a long list of casualties in the once rich nation as it continues to huddle on the brink of collapsing.

Now, according to an Associate Press report, “Venezuela’s worst power and communications outage on Friday deepened a sense of isolation and decay, endangering hospital patients, forcing schools and businesses to close and cutting people off from their families, friends and the outside world.”

“I’m desperate,” said Maria Isabel Garcia, a 39-year-old office worker who hadn’t been able to buy food for her three young children because she wasn’t able to take money out of the bank on Thursday.

The blackout marked another harsh blow to a country paralyzed by turmoil as the power struggle between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido stretches into its second month and economic hardship grows.

Venezuelans have grown begrudgingly accustomed to power cuts, but nothing like the one that hit during rush hour Thursday evening, sending thousands of people on long nighttime treks in the dark to their homes. It reached virtually every part of the oil-rich country of 31 million, which was once Latin America’ wealthiest but is now beset by shortages and hyperinflation projected by the International Monetary Fund to reach a staggering 10 million percent this year, compelling about one-tenth of its population to flee in recent years.

President of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro blames “sabotage engineered by “the imperialist United States,”” along with the “U.S.-backed opposition leader” Juan Guaido who returned earlier in the week after touring Latin America “to escalate his campaign to topple Maduro.”

Guaido called for new protests on Saturday, saying that the ‘electrical grid is in shambles” because of the corruption and mismanagement by Maduro.

Meanwhile, hospitals are running on generators operating with only enough fuel for another couple days. Hospital staffers were still working Friday, many of them staying overnight because they had no way to get home the previous night.

Doctors say they are increasing concerned about patients who are connected to machines and are saying there is no water. A leader of Doctors for Health Dr. Julio Castro reports “that about half of 23 hospitals surveyed were grappling with failing generators.”

[Google translate: Hospital Report 4 PM: Hospitals contacted 23 Hospitals with power plant failure or Non-functioning: 12/23 (52%). Deceased until now: 1, Hospital JM de los Rios, very delicate patient before power failure. We continue monitoring.]

Hitting during peak rush hour, the Washington Post reported, 22 of 23 states went dark on Thursday night leaving thousand trekking home “through some of the world’s most violent streets” in the nighttime hours after Muduro “ordered schools and all government entities closed and told businesses not to open to facilitate work crews trying to restore power.”

Venezuela’s economic woes are likely to increase as U.S. sanctions against its oil industry take their toll, part of an international effort to push Maduro from power. The United States and about 50 other countries back Guaido’s contention that he is the interim president of Venezuela, and that Maduro’s re-election last year was illegitimate because major opposition leaders were barred from running.

Associated Press

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