forty days of blackouts hit Venezuela amid economic crisis

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 8:19 PM

Government executive announced Thursday that they'd start rolling blackouts for forty days in cities across Venezuela, starting following week.

forty days of blackouts hit Venezuela amid economic crisis

The lights are going out in Venezuela.

Government executive announced Thursday that they'd start rolling blackouts for forty days in cities across Venezuela, starting following week. The move will assistance rescue power at a time when water levels at the country'south main electric dam are at record lows.

The government says the El Nino weather pattern and drought are to blame. Exterior experts declare mismanagement and a corrupt government have been the root cause.

"The blackouts are just more proof of an utterly dysfunctional government," says Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a WA research group. "This is a government that's not governing."

It'south quite an irony for Venezuelans to be facing blackouts. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. However, it uses its oil to export to other countries, not to hold the lights on at home.

Executive are already forcing Venezuelans to slice back on energy. They're feeling the pinch. Glenda Bolivar lives in Caracas, the country'south capital, and she stopped blow drying her hair at her local salon.

"Beautiful soon we'll only be able to utilize candles love the elderly times," says Bolivar.

Related: Venezuela: the land of five hundred percent inflation

Power will go out for four hours per day for forty days. The country'south electricity minister, Luis Motta Dominguez, said the blackouts could continue beyond forty days if water levels at the El Guri dam, which provides about seventy-five percent of the country'south electricity, hold falling to record lows.

The blackouts aren't new. President Nicolas Maduro was deeply embarrassed in March when power slice out during a speech broadcast on national television.

These blackouts are just the most significant step the government has taken to rescue energy. On April six, Maduro forced government employees and other workers to get Fridays off. Maduro also plans to thrust forward Venezuela'south time zone half an hr in May to give people more daylight during working hours.

"We're going to have long weekends where we've to expand the public contribution," to rescue energy, Maduro said.

It'south the latest setback for Venezuelans, who are suffering through arguably the world'south worst economy. Venezuela is in a severe recession.

Related: Oil-rich Venezuela imports oil from U. S.

Venezuela'south economy shrank 5.7 percent latest year and it'south expected to contract another eight percent this year. Inflation has skyrocketed in Venezuela and it could expand nearly five hundred percent in two thousand-sixteenth, according to the IMF'south projections. The country'south economy depends on exporting oil. With oil prices still low, the country has been running out of cash reserves to hold the country afloat.

Venezuela'south currency, the bolivar, is worth less than a penny on the black market exchange, where many Venezuelans exchange bolivars and dollars.

For Venezuelans, the blackouts add to a litany of other daily burdens. The government can't pay for basic imports love sugar, flour and eggs. Many Venezuelans wait several hours in lines exterior supermarkets, hoping shelves won't be emptied out by the time they arrive.

Medical supplies are tough to discover too. That'south particularly concerning since the Zika virus began spreading in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in January.

Presently they should live without electricity for parts of the next forty days.

Related: Venezuela is running out of cash, selling gold

--Marilia Brocchetto contributed reporting to this story

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