Electrical Crisis in Venezuela: Caracas is Only the Tip of the Iceberg
Chavista mismanagement and incompetence has ruined the once exemplary electrical grid in Venezuela, as millions suffer from daily blackouts.
If living in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, has become a nightmare because of the blackouts, and the shortage of water and food, imagine living in the interior of the country with daily blackouts of more than 18 hours and without any way to communicate with the outside world.
“The situation is too chaotic in the interior, there is no way to transmit information, there is no connection to telecom networks, people learn about what happens two days later,” reporters from the state of Carabobo, in the central region of the country, told the PanAm Post.
While in Caracas the power outages routinely last between 5 and 8 hours, in the country’s interior Venezuelans face power cuts of 12, 18, and even 24 hours. Zulia state, one of the hottest in the country, is the most affected.
While the interior of the country suffers constant blackouts and remains without access to drinking water, the usurper Nicolás Maduro announced a 30-day electricity rationing plan; without informing the public as to exactly how it will be carried out, nor the schedule on which he plans to run it.
In just one month Venezuela has suffered dozens of power outages that affected most of the country and lasted for several days. The government, which reverts to its old argument that the failures are a result of opposition attacks designed to destabilize the already very tense political climate, seeks to control an electrical network suffering from mismanagement and lack of investment.
But what is happening in Zulia state, in the west of the country, can be likened to an apocalypse. The hottest state in the country does not have access to basic services: no electricity, no water, no urban sanitation; and in the face of massive looting, it is also very difficult to acquire food and medicine.
Since the first blackout, on March 7, there was looting that left more than 600 shops destroyed in the west and north of Maracaibo, the state capital. 100 hours later, the service was restored. But up until the present, the power failures have not stopped and the people of Zulia people now have endured more than five days without power.
“Here there is no urban sanitation service, everything is full of garbage, imagine then the amount of flies and rodents that surround us…Due to high temperatures many sleep outside, on the roof or with windows and doors open…There’s no water. The water you buy or get is to cook and stay hydrated. Bathing is a luxury…There are outbreaks of serious viruses,” journalist Andrea Colmenares reported on social media.
“Getting food in Zulia is a test of your endurance in every way. You have to walk for hours and hours in the sun and stand in long lines to get vegetables, meat, water or any product that can be paid for at a point of sale. Most charge in cash or dollars. And other places where you could once get food have been looted, or are closed at the moment. And the food in the refrigerators? It is prepared and shared so that it is not lost or damaged. Zulia has been without electricity for more than a week,” she added.
Zulia is the second most populous state in Venezuela and the territory with the largest oil reserves in the country; however, today it is a “no man’s land.” The shops are closed, looting has become massive, communication is impossible because the telephones do not have a signal or data plan, schools are not open, and public services have disappeared.
At 107 degrees fahrenheit, the major blackouts force Venezuelans to leave their homes for open air, since they can not use their air conditioners or fans. Zulianos assure that “it is like living in hell.”
While this is happening, the rest of the country also faces constant blackouts, especially in the interior of the country.
“Cybernetic attack”, “electromagnetic attack”, “electrical sabotage”, “a truck hacked the entire electrical system” and “attacks with parrots”, are just some of the excuses of the ruling party to respond to the constant blackouts.
Experts have denounced the massive electrical grid failure as a consequence of the destruction of the hydroelectric system, the lack of investment, and the shortage of trained personnel.
The president of the Venezuelan Association of Electrical Engineering, Mechanics and Allied Professions (Aviem), Winston Cabas, denied the Maduro regime’s claims regarding an alleged cyber attack against the Guri hydroelectric plant, reporting that the automated control of this is analog, meaning that a “cybernetic attack” from the outside would be impossible.
Cabas added that the state currently applies electricity rationing throughout the country “because it does not have thermoelectric generation.”
“The thermoelectric generation of the country is in a precarious state. Of the 16,000 megawatts of capacity, only 2,500 are available. There is a serious rupture between thermoelectric generation and hydroelectric generation. If the hydroelectric generation fell on March 7, it was because there was very little thermoelectric generation,” he said.
Engineer Miguel Lara assured the PanAmPost that what is happening in the Venezuelan electricity sector is “common knowledge…The deterioration of the electricity system has deepened mainly because its generation has been falling to such a point that today it is much less in the country than what was produced 20 years ago,” said Lara.
Chavismo managed to convert Venezuela’s electrical grid into one of the most underdeveloped and abandoned in the world.
For more than 16 years the Venezuelan state has not made the necessary investments in the thermoelectric generation system. The plants are working at 10% or 20% capacity. For this reason, from Caracas to states in the interior of the country, Venezuelans suffer from blackouts daily and simultaneously, to such an extent that the main airport in the country has been paralyzed.