Venezuela’s blackout, in 17 photos

Venezuela is in the midst of a massive political crisis that’s rocking the impoverished country. And now, adding insult to injury, it’s suffering a nationwide blackout that has potentially led to more than 20 deaths.

Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years due to the crippling economic downturn — a crisis largely caused by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s mishandling of the economy. Inflation is through the roof. Hunger rates have skyrocketed. And diseases once thought eradicated have sparked a health disaster.

All of this makes the Venezuela rolling blackout even more devastating. Already, people are drinking water from the heavily polluted river in the capital, Caracas. Long lines have formed at gas stations, which is especially unfortunate considering that Venezuela has one of the world’s largest oil reserves.

Since the blackout began last week, Venezuelans have remarked about how dark and quiet everything is. “You feel a profound silence all around you,” Alejandro Guzmán, a 26-year-old lawyer, told the Guardian on Sunday. “It’s like a city of shadows.”

Others have noted the immense tragedy of the situation. “None of us have ever lived through something like this — not my generation, not my parents, not my grandmother,” Anna Ferrera, a student from Caracas told the Guardian on Monday. “They say this is like living in a war.”

Here are some images showing what life in parts of Venezuela looks like today.

The five-day blackout has affected about 70 percent of the country, and even plunged large cities — like the capital, Caracas — into darkness.

View of Chacao, a neighborhood in Caracas, during a power cut on March 7, 2019.
Matais Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images
Women look from an apartment building during a power cut in Caracas on March 7, 2019.
Women look from an apartment building during a power cut in Caracas on March 7, 2019.
Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images
Elvia Helena Lozano uses a kerosene lamp during a power outage at her home in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
Elvia Helena Lozano uses a kerosene lamp during a power outage at her home in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

President Maduro’s opponents say at least 20 people have died during the blackouts. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the US recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, said Sunday that the regime had committed “murder,” partly because “there is no service in the hospitals.”

A patient looks out from a window at Miguel Perez Carreno hospital, in Caracas, during the worst power outage in Venezuela’s history, on March 8, 2019.
A patient looks out from a window at Miguel Perez Carreno hospital, in Caracas, during the worst power outage in Venezuela’s history, on March 8, 2019.
Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images
A doctor stands outside the Ana Francisca Perez de Leon hospital in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
A doctor stands outside the Ana Francisca Perez de Leon hospital in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images
Workers with the state-run electricity company CORPOELEC arrive at a children’s hospital with a generator in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
Workers with the state-run electricity company Corpolec arrive at a children’s hospital with a generator in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is already one of the world’s most economically devastated countries, with inflation currently more than 1 million percent. Most food and medicine are too expensive for people to purchase. The blackout only makes the situation worse.

People buy food from a street vendor during a power cut in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
People buy food from a street vendor during a power cut in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images
People queue outside a store to buy groceries in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
People queue outside a store to buy groceries in Caracas on March 8, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelans wait in a long line to withdraw money from an ATM in Caracas on March 11, 2019.
Venezuelans wait in a long line to withdraw money from an ATM in Caracas on March 11, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

The river in Caracas is heavily polluted, but it’s one of the only reliable sources of flowing water during the power outage.

People collect water from a sewage canal at the river Guaire in Caracas on March 11, 2019, as a massive power outage continues affecting some areas of the country.
People collect water from a sewage canal at the river Guaire in Caracas on March 11, 2019, as a massive power outage continues affecting some areas of the country.
Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images
wait in line for drinking water being distributed in a tanker in the municipality of Chacao, in Caracas, on March 11, 2019.
Venezuelans wait in line for drinking water to be distributed from a tanker in the neighborhood of Chacao, in Caracas, on March 11, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

President Maduro says the US is to blame for the blackouts, calling it a “power war announced and directed by US imperialism,” due to sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry. Others say the lights are out because of Maduro’s mismanagement of the economy.

Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro showing a picture of the fire at a state owned electricity company Corpoelec power substation, during a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palac
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro shows a picture of a fire at a state owned electricity company, Corpoelec, during a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on March 11, 2019.
Marcelo Garcia/AFP/Getty Images
A woman and a child take pictures of a damaged power substation of state-owned electricity company Corpoelec in Caracas where explosions of unknown cause took place early on March 11, 2019.
A woman and a child take pictures of a damaged power substation at a state-owned electricity company, Corpoelec, in Caracas, where explosions took place early on March 11, 2019.
Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Both Maduro and Guaidó are holding dueling rallies on Tuesday. Guaidó said he will call a “state of national emergency,” while Maduro vowed to fix the problem “little by little.”

The head of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello (R) speaks next to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) during a rally at the Miraflores Presidential Palace on March 9, 2019.
The head of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, speaks next to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a rally at the Miraflores Presidential Palace on March 9, 2019.
Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaidó  speaks during a demo in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaidó speaks during a demo in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images
A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaidó demonstrates with a sign reading ‘No electricity, no subway’ in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting President Juan Guaidó demonstrates with a sign reading “No electricity, no subway” in Caracas on March 9, 2019.
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

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