CARACAS, Venezuela — On Saturday, the capital and at least a dozen of this country’s 23 states were left without power. It was the fourth major blackout to hit Venezuela this month. The government has blamed the collapse on an “electromagnetic attack” waged by the United States and terrorist acts from the opposition.
In the past six years, citizens have increasingly been left to fend for themselves as President Nicolás Maduro’s government has proved unable to provide even the most basic services like food, health care, electricity and, soon, water. If the first blackout on March 7 exposed how decades of misrule have destroyed the country’s economy, society and its infrastructure, the last one left no hope that the government has the capacity to find solutions to the country’s many problems.
For years Venezuelans have muddled through overlapping social and economic crises, but the blackouts have made everything worse. It’s not just that life became harder overnight. It’s that the prospect of it ever getting better became more distant.
The first blackout left people without phone and internet services for at least four days. Hospitals across the country collapsed, and countless places had no water. Given that the state has continuously failed them, people did what they’ve been doing for years: seek out their own solutions to public problems. The collective improvisation highlighted how vulnerable the country has become.
Numerous images of people collecting water from polluted rivers were posted on social media, foreshadowing epidemics that an already struggling health care system will be unable to cope with. In Maracaibo, the country’s second-largest city, more than 500 businesses were looted and destroyed. The fear of another episode of violence now looms large.
As the blackout dragged on, it became difficult to buy food because card payments couldn’t be processed without electricity. Within hours people began using United States dollars. In the Maca section of El Llanito, several open-air markets hung signs announcing that they accepted “lettuces,” the Venezuelan code word for dollars. Overnight the economy had been informally “dollarized.”
But Venezuela’s overlapping crises means that a solution to one problem can bring on another. With Venezuela’s soaring crime rate, having dollars can get you killed. Inside one of the food stores, a woman told me, as she defensively clutched her bag, that her cash was a gift from a relative who visited in December. Paula, a homemaker in her late 50s, emphasized she “only had a couple of s.” She feared neighborhood thugs would target her. “If hunger doesn’t kill you, crime will,” she said.
If the blackout gave the economy a deadly blow, it has hit the health care system even harder. The country’s crumbling hospitals were already experiencing a shortage of medicine and parts needed to repair equipment. Dozens of patients died when old generators failed to kick in. Doctors at the Domingo Luciani Hospital in Caracas described the futile task of trying to keep patients alive with manually pumped respirators. Newborn babies died in idle incubators. The day I visited, power had finally been restored but they still had no water. Next to patients’ beds lay several five-liter bottles of water that relatives had brought them. Yet another example of people left to fend for themselves.
A young surgeon, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told me the lack of water was also worsening the shortage of surgical instruments. “We discard them because, under these conditions, we cannot sterilize them.”
As shocking as it is to see hospitals operate with no water, in most neighborhoods it has now become the norm. At 4 in the morning, on the outskirts of Petare in the San Blas slum, women line up at a winding road to fetch water from a stream. The wait is charged with anger. Leticia Vargas, who was second in line after a three-hour wait, described a life stripped to the bare minimum. “We went from being poor to living in misery,” the 50-year-old woman tells me. Her tank top is in tatters and the deep-set eyes in her gaunt face reflect a life so hard, she looks 10 years older.
Leticia’s desperation is coupled with a sense of hopelessness. “They promise, but they never fix anything” she says, referring to the government. Zuri Zambrano, her neighbor in line, interjects: “They’ve only given us lies.” She says it so loud that the man at the front of the line can hear.
That man is Jeison Carvajal, the head of the pro-government community council. His job today is to limit time at the spout. Standing by a wide, galvanized metal cylinder from where the water pours, Jeison tells me that the original plan was to add several spouts to shorten the wait. After 20 years in power, and a windfall of nearly a trillion dollars from the oil boom, the best the government can offer the people of San Blas is an improvised solution. And they even failed to deliver that.
When I ask Leticia and her friends if they ever consider protesting, they shrug the suggestion off. “If we do, the army will kill us,” Leticia says. Zuri adds that despite her anger the “hunt” for food, water and medicines leaves her no time. “And besides, nothing will change,” she says. Dire living conditions and fear of repression can sometimes demobilize a society like in San Blas. Other times, like in Maracaibo, they propel it.
Contrary to Caracas, Maracaibo experienced daily power outages for most of last year. What was once the heart of a booming oil industry has now become the epicenter of a gasoline smuggling operation into Colombia, and a crossing point for the millions leaving the country. The local economy is so bad, goods are often bartered, not sold.
In the wake of March 7 blackout, three days of riots rocked the city. News reports from the ground seemed taken straight out of Mad Max, as armed mobs tore through the streets destroying and stealing everything from shops to whole malls, and even copper wiring. The city was cannibalized.
Until now, Caracas has been spared the horrors that have shattered Maracaibo. But there is little that a government that is bankrupt, delegitimized and now sanctioned can do for its people. If blackouts become the norm, we might not be so lucky the next time around. I fear that violence and looting will spread like wildfire in the nation’s capital and beyond. That could prove to be another deadly blow for Venezuela.
Virginia López Glass has covered Venezuela and Latin America extensively for international media. She was senior correspondent for Al Jazeera English.
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What？ “【我】【们】【落】【后】【三】【分】？【不】【应】【该】【是】71-71？” 【回】【到】【更】【衣】【室】，【林】【峰】【以】【为】【自】【己】【看】【错】【了】，【电】【子】【记】【分】【牌】【上】【赫】【然】【写】【着】71-68，【他】【们】【仍】【然】【落】【后】【三】【分】。 【芬】【森】【一】【脸】【惊】【讶】，“【你】【在】【说】【什】【么】【伙】【计】？【如】【果】【你】【最】【后】【的】【三】【分】【球】【投】【进】【的】【话】，【我】【们】【的】【确】【会】【追】【平】【比】【分】。” 【林】【峰】【愣】【了】，【自】【己】【的】【最】【后】【的】【三】【分】【球】【没】【进】？ 【他】【没】【有】【看】
【妇】【好】【被】【孟】【贲】【乱】【拳】【打】【死】【在】【地】【上】，【其】【余】【跟】【随】【妇】【好】【的】【骑】【兵】，【也】【是】【全】【部】【被】【屠】【戮】【一】【空】。 【叶】【公】【骑】【马】【赶】【来】，【见】【到】【被】【打】【死】【的】【妇】【好】，【不】【由】【又】【急】【又】【气】，【用】【手】【指】【着】【孟】【贲】：“【郎】【中】【令】，【为】【什】【么】【我】【说】【你】【你】【不】【听】【呢】，【都】【说】【了】【留】【活】【口】【留】【活】【口】，【此】【女】【乃】【是】【巾】【帼】【之】【才】，【若】【是】【能】【降】【于】【新】【国】，【绝】【对】【有】【大】【用】，【可】【你】【竟】【然】【活】【生】【生】【将】【她】【打】【死】？” 【孟】【贲】【有】【些】【摸】【不】【着】【头】
【路】【人】【甲】：“【听】【见】【了】【吗】？【炼】【丹】【堂】【刻】【意】【打】【压】【清】【风】【寨】，【诬】【蔑】【清】【风】【寨】【抄】【袭】【生】【产】【假】【药】，【把】【他】【们】【的】【清】【风】【百】【清】【丹】【给】【封】【杀】【了】，【这】【就】【是】【炼】【丹】【堂】【的】【嘴】【脸】！” 【炮】【灰】【乙】：“【想】【不】【到】【堂】【堂】【炼】【丹】【堂】【也】【净】【做】【这】【些】【苟】【且】【之】【事】，【不】【好】【好】【研】【究】【丹】【药】【便】【罢】【了】，【还】【去】【诬】【告】【封】【杀】【他】【人】，【简】【直】【太】【放】【肆】【了】！” 【流】【氓】【丙】：“【诶】，【我】【跟】【你】【们】【讲】【啊】，【根】【据】【小】【道】【消】【息】【说】，【炼】【丹】香港平特伯乐汇论坛0007【接】【着】【过】【了】【一】【会】，【伊】【伊】boss【好】【像】【是】【想】【清】【楚】【了】【一】【样】，【她】【开】【始】【脸】【红】【了】【起】【来】，【但】【是】【倔】【强】【的】【她】，【她】【是】【不】【可】【能】【认】【错】【的】。 “【我】【说】【有】【就】【有】，【我】【是】【不】【会】【错】【的】，【你】【一】【定】【是】【在】【掩】【饰】【你】【之】【前】【做】【的】【行】【为】。”【伊】【伊】boss【倔】【强】【道】。 【邵】【凯】【看】【着】【这】【么】【大】【的】【反】【应】，【毕】【竟】【还】【是】【这】【么】【肯】【定】【的】【伊】【伊】boss，【邵】【凯】【他】【有】【些】【不】【想】【跟】【她】【交】【流】【了】，【因】【为】【没】【有】【这】
【墟】【神】【大】【人】【说】，【对】【付】【恶】【人】，【就】【得】【用】【更】【恶】【的】【方】【法】！【好】【比】【想】【要】【做】【清】【官】，【就】【要】【比】【贪】【官】【更】【奸】【诈】。【我】【深】【以】【为】【然】！ 【以】【狡】【黠】、【阴】【险】【著】【称】，【有】【冰】【狐】【之】【称】【的】【冥】【冰】【王】，【是】【够】【狡】【黠】、【阴】【险】，【但】【这】【一】【回】，【栽】【在】【了】【更】【加】【狡】【黠】、【阴】【险】【的】【我】【手】【中】！【道】【高】【一】【尺】，【魔】【高】【一】【丈】，【但】【道】【的】【这】【一】【尺】，【终】【究】【压】【在】【魔】【的】【一】【丈】【上】。【我】【洛】【洛】【总】【算】【没】【有】【很】【丢】【人】。 【真】【正】【的】【卑】【鄙】
【吕】【布】【当】【即】【上】【前】【将】【轲】【比】【能】【扶】【起】，【微】【笑】【道】：“【轲】【比】【能】，【从】【现】【在】【开】【始】，【你】【就】【是】【本】【侯】【帐】【前】【天】【狼】【校】【尉】，【与】【打】【虎】【队】【校】【尉】【李】【馗】【共】【同】【轮】【值】【宿】【卫】！” 【诸】【将】【闻】【言】【顿】【时】【微】【微】【色】【变】。 【由】【轲】【比】【能】【跟】【李】【馗】【共】【同】【轮】【值】【宿】【卫】，【岂】【不】【是】【意】【味】【着】【今】【后】【吕】【布】【的】【安】【全】【将】【由】【轲】【比】【能】【部】【落】【的】【五】【百】【多】【勇】【士】【以】【及】【李】【馗】【统】【率】【的】【一】【百】【打】【虎】【队】【人】【共】【同】【负】【责】？ 【轲】【比】【能】【部】【落】【归】
【搞】【半】【天】【那】【天】【听】【到】【的】【声】【音】【不】【是】【错】【觉】【啊】! “【你】……【什】【么】【时】【候】【出】【现】【的】?”【这】【突】【然】【冒】【出】【来】【的】【系】【统】【是】【个】【什】【么】【鬼】【啊】? “【一】【开】【始】【系】【统】【就】【在】，【只】【是】【宿】【主】【一】【直】【未】【达】【成】【激】【活】【条】【件】!”【白】【色】【的】【电】【子】【空】【间】，【一】【台】【小】【智】【脑】【翻】【了】【个】【白】【眼】【继】【续】【用】【自】【己】【独】【特】【的】【平】【板】【声】【线】【说】【着】。 “【呃】【敢】【问】【您】【是】..【哪】【家】【开】【发】【的】【系】【统】【啊】?”【团】【团】
“【兄】【弟】，【你】【确】【定】，【你】【作】【为】【一】【个】【高】【手】【中】【的】【高】【手】，【高】【到】【我】【都】【看】【不】【透】【你】【的】【修】【为】【了】，【你】【居】【然】【会】【没】【钱】。”【杨】【正】【直】【听】【琦】【玉】【说】【没】【钱】【的】【消】【息】【后】【脸】【上】【露】【出】【了】【不】【可】【思】【议】【的】【表】【情】，【现】【在】【的】【高】【手】【都】【很】【穷】【吗】，【为】【什】【么】【我】【认】【识】【的】【都】【不】【差】【钱】？ “【那】【你】【平】【时】【都】【在】【干】【什】【么】？” 【对】【于】【杨】【正】【直】【的】【疑】【惑】【的】【问】【题】，【琦】【玉】【歪】【着】【脑】【袋】【想】【了】【一】【会】：“【我】【平】【时】【都】【是】【逛】【超】【市】