Venezuela’s Slow, Painful Death
Venezuela is a rare case of a nation condemned to die a slow painful death by self-destruction and foreign intervention at the same time.
The last shoe to drop for the Bolivarian nation is the sharp decline in oil prices, which was the only lifeline for a country that, despite its natural riches, is still 100% dependent on crude oil sales to finance its gargantuan government-run bureaucracy.
Venezuela’s economic activity has collapsed since the decline of oil prices and, despite major attacks from Washington and its sponsored organizations inside the country, the Maduro-led government is the most egregious aggressor against the ever-dependent population.
The work week has been reduced to 48 hours, while people are left without energy to run their businesses and homes due to the ‘energy crisis’ which the government fully blames on foreign interventionism.
The vice president of Venezuela, Aristobulo Isturiz, has given the most unexpected news, among the many that occur in his troubled country.
The Government has decided to paralyze its public sector almost entirely in a desperate effort to prevent the level of the main power plant in the country, which generates 70% of the electricity consumed in the South American nation, to continue decreasing its water level. Such scenario would force a widespread blackout, Isturiz. How a mineral and oil rich country depends on one single hydroelectric plant to provide energy to its population is beyond everyone’s understanding.
What has happened in Venezuela is similar to what takes place in other South American nations, where a domestically all mighty government takes over almost every single productive activity, let’s them collapse, due to mismanagement or on purpose and then enforces ’emergency powers’ to deal with the lack of basic services.
Isturiz has issued the measure, the scope of which can be assessed better after it appears in the Official Gazette. The vice president issued his statement after flying over the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, known as the Guri dam, located in the state of Bolivar.
Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro said on Tuesday night that the measure will be effective today and, according to him, it will also involve cutting down on school time. School activities have been suspended on Fridays in an effort to reduce energy consumption even more.
The Maduro regime decreed, since the beginning of 2016, its own version of a ‘state of emergency’ due to the lack of energy to run basic public and private services around the country.
Since before Easter Maduro had decided that the public sector would not regularly work on Friday and long before that date he had said that all bureaucratic evening activities would be restricted.
From April 27 on, public bureaucrats will work only Monday and Tuesday between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm.
The head of state has clarified that the measure will remain in effect during the next fortnight and has asked the heads of public authorities to support this decision.
Right now, the eyes of the opposition are focused on the work being done by the National Electoral Council, the organ in charge of processing the petition to call for a referendum that would decide if the Venezuelan leader continues or not in office.
The President has said that the virtual paralysis of the public sector has managed to stop the fall of the water level at Guri by 20 centimeters per day, and instead, it is going down at a rate of 10 centimeters per day. In other words, Venezuela is slowly but surely crawling towards complete disaster. Maduro’s government has not issued any statement on how his administration intend to solve the energy problem once the water level becomes insufficient.
Maduro’s delusional government has labeled the daily blackouts as special energy saving measures. The blackouts go on for hours throughout the day and night.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Venezuela has reached this dire situation due to a combination of factors: the prolonged drought caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño, lack of investment in the energy sector, which the state controls since 2007, and the failure that has meant the provision of thermoelectric plants to help minimize reliance on hydroelectric power generation coming from the south.
The fall in oil prices is just another reason for the decline in Venezuelan living standards, but it is not the strongest one. The Maduro administration has failed to prepare for the worst case scenario, which has been well-known by his government for at least a decade. Phenomena such as El Niño is cyclical, and it comes around at known intervals.
Maduro should have prepared his country for it. His government wasted money in failed energy projects which it knew would not provide a real alternative for the population should it be needed, yet, the expenditures continued without seeing any results.
The energy emergency decreed by then President Hugo Chavez ended in a resounding failure. Part of the purchased or delivered equipment and services ended up in the pockets of people favored by the State to get the contracts. As of today, the hydroelectric power station is 1.60 meters above the point of collapse.
In these difficult hours the regime prays for the advancement of the rainy season and is entrusted its future to the rise in oil prices to continue funding its ‘development’ model.
The problem for Venezuela is that the amount of rain needed to come out of the current energy debacle would need to be biblical in proportion, and that is nowhere to be seen.