Blackouts and power shortages in Venezuela have now entered their fourth day, as the crisis-stricken country’s economic and humanitarian crisis continues to deepen.
The power outage began last Friday, with around 70 percent of the country receiving little or no electricity at all, making it the longest and most severe blackout in the country’s history. The situation that has already sparked considerable civil unrest, with incidents of mass lootings and the closure of nearly all public services.
“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 Caracas. “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.
Around 17 people have already died as a result of the blackout as hospitals struggle to operate without power, as opposition leader Juan Guaidó accused the Maduro regime of murdering its own citizens.
Cumpliendo con el deber de monitorear una situación que irresponsablemente otros tratan de vender como normalización, la #SalaSituacional ha actualizado este mapa de la situación eléctrica a nivel nacional a las 11:30Am. pic.twitter.com/yk8Jo3QPaO
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 11, 2019
“I can’t call it anything else, due to lack of electricity,” he continued. “Imagine if, in your country, you wake to the news that there’s been four days without electricity because they steal from electricity plants and 17 people died. That’s murder.”
As noted by the BBC, “without the internet, mobile phones, banks, credit-card machines, electric cookers or air-conditioning, ordinary life is bordering on the unbearable for many people, especially in low-income communities.”
Meanwhile, the Maduro regime has blamed the United States for the blackout, claiming without evidence that they conducted cyber attacks against the country’s national grid.
“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyber attacks,” Maduro wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.”
El Sistema Eléctrico Nacional ha sido objeto de múltiples ataques cibernéticos que ocasionaron su caída y han impedido los intentos de reconexión nacional. Sin embargo, hacemos grandes esfuerzos para, en las próximas horas, restaurar el suministro de forma estable y definitiva. pic.twitter.com/C1dJGuWxSD
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 10, 2019