Venezuela: Grid failure and effects. Is it US sanctions or lack of funding?


Amid the political tension in Venezuela, intensified power shortages experienced over the past weeks are adding more chaos and unrest in the South American country.

Reports have it that recent outages have caused a spike in the number of deaths in hospitals.

According to Al Jazeera, both the political chaos and the increase in power outages are due to sanctions imposed to the current government which is led by Nicolas Maduro.

The media argues that “US sanctions are hurting Venezuela’s most vulnerable,” instead of politicians.

Due to the power shortages, hospitals are not able to provide adequate or high standard services to patients.

Take Alfredo Felix, a 60-year old Venezualan suffering from diabetes was quoted by Al Jazeera saying: “Because of the blackout I couldn’t do my dialysis and I felt dizzy and weak. I don’t know what is going to happen in this country. Sometimes I feel we are at a point of no return.”

Alfredo is needs dialysis three times a week, and this has been restrained by the power outages experienced over the past weeks.

The International Energy Agency says the power outages will continue to negatively impact on the entire energy industry.

In addition to plunging citizens in darkness, the failure of the country’s Guri hydropower plant last week crippled Venezuella’s oil exports and left millions of citizens struggling to find food and water.

The continued power woes “could trigger ‘serious disruption’ to the oil market,” according to IEA.

Whilst reports from media sources suggests that the power outages and the failure of the Guri hydropower plant is due to the country’s inability to fund infrastructure upgrade projects, the Wall Street Journal states that the failure is due to brain drain and corruption.

The US online news portal says the power plant is failing to reach its full power generation potential due to lack of expertise within Venezuela to manage, maintain and upgrade the system.

It is predicted that tens of billions are required to improve the Guri power plant.