Power outage forcing some Venezuelans to use polluted water
Desperate Venezuelans are fetching water from a polluted river and drainage pipes, and lives hang in the balance in hospitals as a nationwide power outage enters its sixth day Tuesday.
Schools and many businesses are closed and stores have no power to keep fresh what food is available.
Venezuelans who are filling water bottles from a drainage pipe flowing into the filthy Guaire River are warned to use it only for flushing toilets or cleaning floors.
Some hospitals have generators and doctors are hoping to be able to transfer patients who need operations to save their lives to those facilities.
Power was restored to parts of the county Monday, but was reported to be unreliable. It is also hard to confirm reports of deaths and looting coming out of Venezuela because of communication difficulties.
President Nicolas Maduro blames the power outage on the United States and opposition, accusing them of a cyberattack on a hydroelectric dam.
Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido says government corruption and mismanagement are the cause. Engineers say a lack of maintenance and skilled experts fleeing the country have left the Venezuelan electrical grid in terrible shape.
The United States denies having anything to do with the power shortages and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday blasted Cuba and Russia for backing the Maduro regime.
“No nation has done more to sustain the death and daily misery of ordinary Venezuelans, including Venezuela’s military and their families, than the communists in Havana,” Pompeo said. “Cuba is the true imperialist power in Venezuela.”
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