The crisis affecting the country has begun to spread onto a new frontier: water.
Over the last several days, news of water shortages and disruptions to water distribution systems have dominated the news cycles, with entire states reporting failures in the administration of the liquid. Some of the areas affected by water shortages in recent days and weeks include Caracas, as well as Zulia, Merida, and Carabobo states.
The water shortages appear to be at least partially related to the country’s ailing electrical system. For example, large sections of Merida were left without water earlier this week after a pumping station that provides water to the state lost power.
Earlier today, vice president Tarek El Aissami held a press conference in which he promised that water service would be restored to the state within the next seven days. He said:
Starting tomorrow, [the state water authority] will be under [the national government’s] control, and you will see that in seven days we will see the first results and water service will be restored to all of Merida state.
El Aissami’s press conference coincided with the announcement that the national was taking over Merida’s water authority, Hidrologica de Merida.
In the Macaracuay neighbourhood of Caracas, residents staged a protest today over the lack of water in the area. In the video below, one of the demonstrators explains why she’s out protesting:
Protester: We’re claiming our rights. How is it that a rich country like this doesn’t have water? We’re from Macaracuay, and we’ve come out because we need water. Let us defend our country, please! Take to the streets! Defend your rights! We want water!
Also in Caracas, residents of the Las Minas area of the Baruta municipality staged a protest today over the fact that they have not had water for the past 15 days. The protest garnered the attention of a large group of National Guard soldiers, which you can see in the video below:
Residents Stage Rare Protest Outside Miraflores
Last night, a group of Caracas residents staged a rare protest outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. The spontaneous demonstration was caused by
In the video below, the crowd bangs plastic containers and chant “Queremos agua!” [We want water!] and “Agua!” [Water!]. A row of what appear to be National Guard soldiers is visible in the background:
In the video below, the same group of demonstrators is chanting a popular protest song: “Si va a caer! Si va a caer! Este gobierno va a caer!” [Yes, it will! Yes, it will! This government will fall!]:
Grace Period Expires on Chinese Loan
Reuters reported this afternoon that the grace period on $19 billion in loans from China to Venezuela expired today, citing “two Venezuelan sources with knowledge of the matter”. The end of the grace period means that Caracas might lose as much as $7 billion in revenue this year.
The grace period began two years ago, after Beijing agreed to allow Venezuela to make interest-only payments.
According to Reuters:
The sources, who asked not to be identified, said that Venezuela continues to press for an extension but is responsible for making the full payments while the talks continue.
China has been an important financial guideline for Venezuela in the Bolivarian area. Beijing lent Caracas $63 billion between 2007 and 2014, often under the agreement that Venezuela repay the loans in oil.
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