According to Venezuela’s opposition, dozens of people in hospitals have died amid a four day blackout:
Opposition lawmakers and aid groups warned Sunday that an unprecedented nationwide blackout in Venezuela was causing a rising number of deaths, as citizens struggled for a fourth day to find food and water and hospitals were paralyzed.
“What Venezuelans are living today looks like a science fiction movie,” said Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who is spearheading a U.S.-backed campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro.
At a news conference Sunday, Guaidó said that at least 17 deaths had occurred at hospitals as a result of the outages. Fifteen of them were in the eastern city of Maturin, he said. Meanwhile, a medical aid group, Codevida, said it had reports of 15 people who had died due to kidney failure linked to the lack of power.
It was not possible to independently confirm the reports. The Venezuelan government has released little information on the blackout, blaming it on sabotage by U.S. authorities. Trump administration officials have denied the accusation and attributed the power outages to years of underinvestment and poor maintenance. While power was restored to some areas on Sunday, it was often fickle, failing hours later.
On Sunday afternoon, a 24-year-old woman sat in a chair weeping outside the hospital at the Central University of Venezuela. “My baby just died,” she said softly. “There was no pediatric surgeon.”
Even if the Venezuelan authorities manage to patch up the electric grid this time, there has been a pattern of increased blackouts and power failures in the last year. Most skilled workers have fled the country, so I suspect the regime is having a very hard time both sourcing the materials needed to make repairs, and actually finding someone who can make the repairs. Eventually, I expect Venezuela’s grid will just completely collapse and the entire country will be forced to make do without power (excepting the regime and its friends, of course).
Venezuela is rapidly morphing into the Somalia of South America, a lawless place run by criminal gangs that doesn’t really function as a country anymore. And don’t forget, Venezuela is seen by our friends on the left as a model worthy of emulation and not a cautionary tale.