Nobody in Zulia Will Read This With Their Blackout Curse

Photo: Panorama

María uses her WhatsApp statuses for three things: post reflections, share pictures of her two daughters and unleash all of her fury against Venezuelan government officials, especially those in Zulia State, due to the blackouts that have become her daily bread since the fire at the Pomona power substation caused by “sabotage”, according to Electric Power Minister Luis Motta Domínguez.

She’s well within her right, because she lives in one of the country’s hottest regions. Having the air conditioner on all day long at home is a priority for her family and obviously, blackouts make everyday activities such as cooking or planning her job as a teacher quite difficult.

But if you ask her what angers her the most, she immediately replies it’s the blotching on her 15-month-old baby, caused by mosquito bites.

Alexis doesn’t have this problem, he lives in an apartment on the sixth floor of a building in northwestern Maracaibo. The breeze coming through his windows is so strong and fresh that he can sleep calmly away from any mosquitoes (while he sees the bags under his workplace colleagues’ eyes every morning). His torture has to do with one of his biggest passions: football.

Alexis missed the games of the Champions League semifinal due to blackouts that, according to him, disturbs his peace of mind.

Governor Omar Prieto claimed that the situation had been 90% resolved. A few days later, his government secretary acknowledged that the problem would be resolved in about two months.

“This government even snatched football from us. It’s unbelievable,” he says with  forced laughter, adding that he might be able to watch the final on May 26, if he’s lucky.

María and Alexis have something in common: the thing they hate the most is cynicism and the lies of those who should fix the problem.

“One day they say one thing, the next they come up with another,” says María, because ever since Motta Domínguez reported the explosion, official versions don’t match. “Or they say it’s sabotage and more sabotage, while they humiliate and stomp on the people.”

For instance, early last week Governor Omar Prieto claimed that the situation had been 90% resolved. A few days later, his government secretary, Lisandro Cabello, acknowledged during an interview in a local radio station that the problem “is serious,” claiming that it would be resolved in about two months.

But what angered the people the most wasn’t this contradiction, but Lisandro Cabello’s cynicism when he said that Zulianos are “satisfied” with Prieto’s “response”, whom he deemed as the first regional authority to take this problem as a problem.

He made this assertion as protests sparked in several areas of the city during the week starting last April 23, wreaking havoc in public transport (including the shutdown of the Maracaibo Metro for two straight days).

The situation is reminiscent of the controversial chronicle published by El Estímulo in May, 2016, called “The trimardición of living daily without electricity for four hours in Maracaibo.” Notorious for its colloquial language, several journalists, me included, sternly criticized it. But now I’d think twice about it, because what we’re living in Zulia right now is a true trimardición.

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  1. If this is BEFORE the May 20 “electoral event”, imagine how little the authorities will care AFTER then.

  2. Lovely anecdotes on that article:

    That was 2 years ago. Year after year, Venezuelans are getting used to living in Hell. Just like Cubans did in the first 2 decades of their “rebolusion sosialijta). They find astute replacements for basic services, they start adapting, changing their lives to live without meat, or water or electricity, hospitals, medicines.. They barter, one lemon for a cup of coffee. “Lend me your fan, it’s hot, I found 2 eggs from my old hen back there” They adjust. Se lo van metiendo poco a poco. Soon enough, decades go by, and they simply don’t know any other way to live: they were born is those terrible conditions. They’ve never seen how civilized people live in the world, only stories from old relatives or some internet site. Part of the sinister Castro-Chavista master plan. Turn people into survival-mode zombies, with time. They learn to hop on trucks like animals for transportation. To wash clothes in the Guaire, even swim in it. To eat garbage, steal, trade, bachaquear, black markets everywhere: they adapt. They mutate. They surrender. They get used to it. Just like in Maracaibo, which resembles Cuba or Africa more and more, year after year.

  3. I don’t understand the culture.

    If our high speed internet was out for 8 hours, there would be howling, histrionic people of every stripe chasing the executives of Spectrum down the road with bullwhips. A day? They would go into hiding.

    If our electricity was good for 4 hours per day, maybe at night? I can assure you, the people of this state would have new leadership within hours. No excuses. Just GONE. Our governor (Mark Dayton, a chickenshit, who abandoned his post once already) would literally hide out of state, if not in Canada (where he belongs)

  4. In Cuba, a few of the most daring keep a pig in their bathroom, with its vocal chords cut to avoid noise/prison for owners–just to have a little meat once in a while….

  5. What is most alarming is the fact that the heat is creeping up and electricity is so problematic that those that contract malaria will soon be left with no comfort.

    Cooler indoor temps really do help to slow the spread of biting insects.

    But I wonder why (or was there ever?) screens on windows to stave off the flying vampires?

  6. Mitchell’s comment regarding window screening, or lack thereof, hit the nail on the head.

    Window screens and screen doors are fundamental to keeping mosquitoes and flies out of houses. Unfortunately, they are not widely used in Venezuela or Colombia, which is a mystery to me.


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