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Venezuelans Start Foregoing Water as Taps Run Dry

Venezuela's economic crisis has left residents in San Juan with a chronic water shortage
AFP/Federico PARRA

Many Venezuelans are now facing the prospect of lack of access to clean water, a crisis affecting everything from people’s homes to public hospitals, a report from Reuters detailed on Wednesday.

At the Central Venezuelan University hospital, once renowned across Latin America, many appointments, clinics, and operations have been canceled as a result of water shortages. Many of the hospital’s bathrooms are closed, while patients are forced to use a tiny tap on the ground floor providing just a trickle of water.

“I have gone to the operation bloc and opened the tap to wash my hands, as you must do before a surgery, and nothing comes out,” gynecologist Lina Figueria told the agency.

In people’s homes, individuals are left unable to drink water or wash amid the country’s ferociously hot summer climate.

Last month, Breitbart reported how people began staging protests due to water failures mainly affecting the capital Caracas. Groups of demonstrators blocked highways around the city to protest the lack of clean water supplies, which they complained would expose them to infectious diseases.

The water shortages are mainly caused by a lack of maintenance to the city’s water network and a lack of necessary funds to replace broken parts. Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro has blamed the issue on the behavior of unspecified right-wing “terrorists” who he accuses of sabotage.

“For many years this deterioration process was not noticeable. But now the water transport systems are very damaged,” said Jose De Viana, former president of Hidrocapital, the state company in charge of Caracas’s water.

Last month, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez announced a “special plan” to fix the issue but failed to provide details of how he would do so, while no temporary solution has been found.

The country’s last major water shortage was in February 2016, when the government announced a weekend “maintenance” session designed to maintain sufficient water levels during a period of drought with the average temperature at that time of year around 68 F.

According to two recent surveys on the country’s living standards, around 75 percent of Caracas residents do not consistently have access to running water, while 11 percent believe dirty water has caused skin problems and stomach illnesses.

Water shortages are one of the countless difficulties Venezuelans experience regularly in the current crisis caused by the implementation of Hugo Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution.”

Millions of people now have extremely limited access to basic resources such as food and medicine due to skyrocketing rates of hyperinflation that have left the country’s currency practically worthless. Based on real exchange rates, the country’s monthly minimum wage is roughly equivalent to around two dollars ($2) a month.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

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