The National Assembly declared a state of national alarm today in response to the ongoing blackout, which is
now approaching its 100th hour. The blackout–which began on Thursday at approximately 5:00 PM likely due to a catastrophic failure at the Guri dam–appears to have no end in sight as progress is quickly erased with by new disruptions.
Six hours ago, Netblocks reported that 74% of the country was still without electricity:
At the National Assembly, interim president Juan Guaido chastised the authorities not only for their apparent inability to resolve the crisis, but also at their inconsistent account of the cause for the start of and continuation of the blackout. Guaido said:
These people [the regime] are ridiculous; their excuse changes by the hour, [and yet] it’s something that every Venezuelan knows: they stole the money for preventative maintenance, they owe [money] to everyone and now Venezuela is living through this situation.
The declaration of national alarm is similar to what might be called a declaration of national emergency in other jurisdictions. Given the stranglehold that the ruling PSUV party has on every state institution other than the National Assembly, it is likely that today’s declaration will be nothing more than a symbolic gesture of the opposition’s repudiation of the regime’s inability to prevent and deal with the blackout.
The most concrete measure to come out of the National Assembly today came in the form of a call for nationwide protests, which are scheduled to take place tomorrow starting at 3:00 PM.
NA Moves to Ban Oil Transfers to Cuba
The National Assembly also voted to block the sending of oil to Cuba. Guaido claimed that the measure was necessary both as a fuel-saving measure given the ongoing crisis, as well as a punitive measure given that he claims is Cuban intervention in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan opposition has long accused Cuba of helping to maintain Maduro in power, including through technical support in the form of military and police expertise. Cuba has denied the claims.
The move from the National Assembly was followed up by a tweet from United States National Security Adviser John Bolton:
Looting Breaks out in Maracaibo, Barinas
There was widespread civil unrest in Maracaibo this afternoon as desperate residents looted supermarkets and pharmacies in the city for scarce supplies.
The video below shows looting at what is allegedly a bakery:
The video below shows chaotic scenes as the Maracaibo police try to stop looters:
In the Pedraza municipality of Barinas state, people looted a PDVAL supermarket:
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