CARACAS (CBSMiami) – Venezuela’s embattled president has announced a 30-day plan to ration electricity.
The new plan is in response to recurring blackouts that have many in the dark and disrupted water services.
President Nicolas Maduro said the plan will also focus on getting water to the people.
“I have approved a 30-day plan moving towards a schedule that would administrate the stabilization of the generation process, the secure transmission processes, and the processes of service and consumption in the entire country. Specially emphasizing on guaranteeing water service for our people, an essential element,” he said in a televised speech.
Maduro and his government blame the United States and its allies inside the country, accusing them of sabotaging power plants and the electricity grid. Government officials often release pictures of damaged sections and use government officials to explain on state media what happened and why it’s US President Donald Trump’s fault.
On the other side, Juan Guaidó, recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by several countries, including the United States, sees the outages as a good example of why Maduro must go. Guaidó and his supporters accuse Maduro of mismanaging the income from the country’s massive oil reserves and failing to maintain public infrastructure.
The cause of the third blackout has not been given, but the first two occurred because of problems at the Guri hydroelectric plant, which serves 70% of the country.
The first blackout started March 8 and was not completely over until about five days later. It put most of Venezuela in the dark, stopping mass transit in the capital, shuttering businesses and gas stations and disrupting operations at hospitals.
Mauro Zambrano, a representative of the hospitals and clinics union of Caracas, told CNN there have been four deaths at hospitals, including two at a children’s hospital.
The second blackout occurred March 25 after a fire at the Guri plant that Venezuelan Minister of Communications Jorge Rodriguez said was caused by “criminals” and their “gringo masters.”
Power outages affect all strands of daily activity. The blackouts have halted service in the Caracas subway at times and check-in at the Simon Bolivar International Airport has been done by hand several times in the past few weeks.
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