Lights Out In Venezuela As Blackout Hits Fifth Day With No End In Sight – Guaido Calls For ‘State Of Alarm’

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Venezuelans are furious and desperate as they line up to get water and fuel during the fifth day of nationwide blackouts in the now defunct socialist utopia. Already scarce food is now rotting where it lays in shops. Families are trying to get by with little or no water. There is no cell phone reception or Internet either. Sen. Marco Rubio warned Thursday that Venezuelans would run out of food in “a handful of days” before the blackout.

Access to power has been very patchy since this nightmare started last Thursday. Maduro is naturally blaming the act on the U.S. and he’s claiming it is sabotage. No one believes that… it is obviously due to incompetence and corruption on Maduro’s part. “This is a multi-year decline in Venezuela,” Elliott Abrams, the State Department special envoy for Venezuela, told reporters Friday. “So the United States did not cause those problems, the international community did not; the regime caused those problems. The United States had nothing to do with the regime’s failure over a 10-year period to attend to the electric infrastructure of the country, for example.”

“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyberattacks,” Maduro tweeted. ”However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.” There is no one left in the country with the no-how to restart the massive generators there.

Yesterday, the government suspended school and business activities for the following day without providing any information on a likely time frame for resolving the situation, leaving many fretting that it could extend indefinitely. I would not count on school being in session anytime soon down there.

This is an unprecedented power outage for the socialist-ravaged country. Maduro is now facing a hyperinflationary economic collapse and catastrophic political crisis. There are whispers of military intervention by the U.S. and I would take those very, very seriously at this point. Other countries are considering intervening as well. Maduro’s days are numbered according to both National Security Advisor John Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio.

In January, opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud. Over 50 countries are now recognizing Guaido as the rightful leader of Venezuela. The U.S. is one of them. An estimated 2.7 million people have fled the country since 2015. Today, Guaido says Venezuela has collapsed after major blackouts. He appealed to the military to “stop hiding the dictator,” referring to Maduro.

“There is no service in the hospitals. These were the best hospitals in the country. If we are in the capital what is it like kilometers inside Venezuela where there hasn’t been or there has been very little gasoline with periodic cuts in electricity, without basic goods, with inefficient public transportation? You can say with all responsibility that Venezuela has already collapsed.”

From Reuters:

“Angry residents of the Caracas neighborhood of Chacao on Sunday set up barricades along a main avenue and on side streets to protest the continued blackout.

“The food we had in our refrigerators has spoiled, businesses are closed, there’s no communication, not even by cell phone,” Ana Cerrato, 49, a merchant, standing in front of a pile of razor wire and debris.

“We need help! We are in a humanitarian crisis!”

“Lines at fuel stations extended for blocks as drivers queued for gasoline and buses waited to fill up with diesel. Families stood under the sun to buy potable water, which is unavailable for most residents whose homes do not have power.

“State oil company PDVSA said on Sunday that fuel supplies were guaranteed. But only around 100 of the country’s 1,800 service stations were operating due to the blackout, according to gas station industry sources.

“Merchants unable to keep refrigerators working began giving away cheese, vegetables, and meat to clients.

“Other shops had supplies stolen.

“One supermarket in southeastern Caracas was looted on Sunday evening, triggering a shootout with police and National Guard troops, according to Reuters witnesses and an employee who was present. The looters took food including pasta, rice and tomato sauce.

“A neighboring shop selling home goods such as plastic chairs was also looted.

“The National Guard rounded up more than 40 people at the scene, tied their hands behind their backs and ordered them to lie face down on a road that authorities had blocked during the confrontation, a Reuters witness said.

“On Saturday night, a small supermarket in a working-class area of western Caracas was looted after protesters barricaded an avenue and clashed with police, according to neighbors and the shop’s owner, Manuel Caldeira.

“They took food, they broke the display windows, they stole scales and point of sale terminals,” said Caldeira, 58, standing on the shop floor littered with glass. “We weren’t here (when it happened), we got here and found all of this destroyed.”‘

Guaido is using his political platform to rip Maduro for not explaining why the power is out and what is going on. “The regime at this hour, days after a blackout without precedent, has no diagnosis,” he said at a news conference on Sunday.

Guaido said Sunday he will ask Venezuela’s legislature to declare a “state of alarm,” authorizing the delivery of international aid in response to a catastrophic power outage that has paralyzed the country.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez claims that the government is taking care of the situation. He offered no details and the power is still out. “While the promoters of hate, death and violence delight in their destabilization plans, President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a deployment of ministers to ensure the Venezuelan people are attended to,” he said.

The military is still backing Maduro and he controls state functions. But opposition to his reign is growing by the hour.

The Lima Group of nations, which includes Latin American countries that have vocally opposed Maduro, said in a statement that the blackout was confirmation of “the humanitarian crisis that Maduro’s regime refuses to recognize.” Elliott Abrams bluntly said that Maduro will not negotiate and does not plan on budging. He won’t have a choice soon.

On ABC’s “This Week” program, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Venezuelan military officers were having conversations with opposition legislators “about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition.”

Things are grave and getting worse in Venezuela. With the blackout and spotty backup generators, hospitals are losing some of their sickest patients, especially those on kidney dialysis – 17 at last count. Dozens of babies who were receiving hospital treatment have died across the country due to the power shortage according to Doctors for Health.

“Report that at least 80 neonatal patients have died at University Hospital in Maracaibo, Zulia, since the blackout began on Thursday,” the Florida Republican added in a Sunday tweet. “Unimaginable tragedy. Heartbreaking.”

The power briefly came on in parts of Caracas and other cities last Friday, only to be snuffed out the next day. More will die because of this.

“One can infer from the delays and the results of the failure that it was a problem in the lines that leave Guri, rather than in the plant itself,” said Miguel Lara, a former president of the state-run entity responsible for the electricity system, referring to the Guri hydroelectric power plant which supplies most of Venezuela’s electricity.

The extent of the blackout’s impact on the country’s crude oil production is not clear.

One thing is evident, Venezuela is about to implode and a lot more people are going to die because of Maduro and his socialist ways.

Sources: Reuters, Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, France24, CNN, The New York Times

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