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Solidarity, survival and sabotage: reconstructing the history of the blackouts tormenting Venezuela

While Venezuela’s government and the Chavista movement proclaimed victory over the worst blackouts to plague the country, Washington’s coup masters have promised more darkness until their goals are complete.

by Misión Verdad

Part 8 - Assessing the damage, charting a path back to normalcy

72 hours after the attack, the city of Caracas had recovered energy in most of its neighborhoods. In the following hours, the eastern, central and southern states also recovered their power. The Western region had delays, extending the power stabilization up to 24 hours more in Táchira, Mérida, Trujillo, Zulia and Lara.

Five days after the continuous attacks to multiple substations and the parallel sabotage to the Guri dam, preventing the stabilization of the National Electric System, the entire country had managed to return to normal.

Through social media, the opposition attempted to deceive outsiders with images purporting to show desperate Venezuelans collecting water from the Guaire River, which is filled with sewage. Western outlets like Reuters, which serve as faithful stenographers of the opposition’s narrative, fell for the lie. However, a report made by the Catia TV team debunked the bogus claims. In fact, those people were drinking from a natural well.

What’s more, cistern trucks were set up to transport water to communities in need, a mechanism made possible by communal councils. Others supplied their homes by using buckets and wheelbarrows.

Although the exhaustion of those days was felt across the country, the government’s array of social programs were resumed as soon as the communications were fully operational. The food assistance policy of the CLAPs was reinforced by orders of Maduro, softening the blow for those whose food spoiled during the blackout.

The official balance on Wednesday presented by Minister Jorge Rodríguez was favorable, despite the fact that the cyberattack to the nation’s power grid caused losses of $877 million to the Venezuelan nation.

The country’s business class, meanwhile, made a stunning admission: the ‘regime change’ plan they supported had caused them massive losses. For instance, the National Federation of Cattle Ranchers of Venezuela (Fedenaga) stated $1.4 million were lost in the course of the coup and subsequent blackout.

One million kilograms of cheese and 900,000 kilograms of meat decomposed due to a lack of refrigeration. Another 6 million liters of milk were damaged while waiting for the electric power restitution.

The firm Ecoanalítica put the losses for the country were $875 million – approximately $100 million of damage per day – which reduced the gross domestic product by 1%.

Commercial establishments were also the target of vandalism, especially in the state of Zulia and, to a lesser degree, in Lara, Monagas, Miranda and Barinas. While the political opposition’s agenda was to whitewash these criminal acts, parading them internationally as consequences of the social crisis triggered by the blackout, they omitted the role that the national security forces played in protecting businesses.

Long hours of intensive effort from the majority of the Venezuelan population alongside the government ensured an effective response. One week after the attack, the public and private labor, trade, production and industrial activities were resumed.

But just as life appeared to be returning to normal, the country was plunged into darkness again on March 29. From Washington, coup czar Elliot Abrams confidently stated, “The likelihood is the blackouts will continue.

***

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