CARACAS – As most of the country, including Caracas, enter the fifth day without electricity, looting and havoc continue to grow into unmanageable numbers. Opposition leaders has tallied 21 deaths (six babies) so far as a result of the blackout.
Doctor and opposition leader, Jose Manuel Olivares tweeted, “These are not just numbers, these are Venezuelan lives that would not have been lost were it not for the ineptitude of Nicolas Maduro.”
The country is left without hospital equipment, credit-card machines, Internet, bank transactions, phones, air-conditioning, and necessary cooking appliances.
This morning, the Venezuelan government yet again closed schools and businesses, causing the economy into even a more of a tumble that its already in. At night, in total darkness, motorcycle gangs known as “Colectivos” monitor the streets and enforce pro-government laws. This is the sense of order the people of Venezuela are left with.
Low-income communities are affected the most by the Colectivos policing and lack of resources. Because credit-card machines and cash registers are down, the stores lucky enough to be open are only accepting U.S. dollars. Average Venezuelan workers do not earn dollars, they get Bolivars. And with the vast majority of banks and government agencies closed, at hyperinflation at an all-time high, there is little one can do.
BBC News described Majorie from the Terrazas del Club Hipico neighborhood without any food for her two-year-old son. The supermarket was looted, leaving her with just the boiled rice a neighbor gave her. She does not know what she will feed her son the next day.
For others in need of urgent medical attention, the situation is even worse. At the JM de los Rios Hospital, emergency generators were not fully functioning for more than 24 hours. On Thursday, newborn babies in the intensive care urgent had to be kept alive with manual respiration pumps. A working emergency generator was eventually delivered by the feared Colectivos group.
In his only appearance since the crisis began, Maduro said progress is being made towards “reconnection.”
Venezuela’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the government is “working tirelessly” to fix the crisis. It is well-known that the Maduro-led government blamed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. is responsible for a cyber attack to bring Guaido to power. The government has not provided any evidence of a U.S. cyber attack.
Photo by Juan Cristobal Zulueta
Photo by Alex Lanz