Venezuelans Break Lockdown to Protest Six Weeks Without Water

A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution amid the spread of the new coronavirus collects water from a mountainside on the side of the road to take home in Caracas, Venezuela, on International Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Many people in Venezuela don't have running water in …
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Residents from the Altagracia neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela, ignored the ongoing lockdown measures and took to the streets on Thursday to demand the restoration of the water supply after nearly six weeks without service.

The neighborhood, located meters away from the regime’s Ministry of Communication and Information, has experienced chronic water shortages and supply failure for the past 42 days, forcing residents to collect water from a local hydrant.

While waiting for their supply, residents in Altagracia chanted the word “water” in protest at the government’s failure to resolve the issue.

Separate demonstrations later took place in the northern state of Sucre, with protesters banging pots and pans, claiming they have not received reliable water supply for at least 30 days.

Last month, similar demonstrations took place in the capital of Caracas, where cars and motorcycles blocked the Valle-Coche motorway over shortages of gasoline and access to clean water.

According to the AFP agency, quoting several NGOs, failures in the water supply are currently affecting 60 percent of the Venezuelan population, with some receiving just a supply for one hour a week.

The problem is one of a plethora of factors contributing to the country’s dire humanitarian crisis, worsened by the fact that the country remains in a nationwide lockdown that has further paralyzed its already failing economy.

Venezuela is a country deemed especially vulnerable to the pandemic as a result of its economic collapse, with millions of people going malnourished and without living essentials such as medicine and hygiene products.

The country’s hospitals are also hopelessly incapable of managing a serious pandemic, as they are also similarly suffering from chronic shortages of medical resources such as antibiotics and basic sanitary products. In 2017, the country’s leading national newspaper, El Nacional, described the situation in Venezuelan hospitals as a “health Holocaust.”

Despite the immense vulnerability of Venezuela to a global pandemic, the country’s socialist regime has reported only a minimal number of cases. According to official data, there have been 455 cases and ten deaths as a result of the pandemic, an astonishingly low number given its predicament.

This week, Venezuelan scientists expressed fear of persecution at the hands of the regime over their questioning of the official figures and warnings that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come.

“It worries us as scientists, that we are harassed and targeted for a technical report intended to improve management of the pandemic,” Venezuela’s Academy of Physical, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences said in a statement following the publishing of a report warning of a further outbreak.

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