Venezuela crisis: Anger over shortages triggers protests

Venezuela crisis: Anger over shortages triggers protests

People kill time waiting next to their cars as they queue for petrol. Photo: Yahoo News


Hundreds of protests have erupted across Venezuela in the past few days as anger mounts over frequent power cuts and shortages of fuel and drinking water, a non-governmental organisation monitoring social conflict says.

By Yahoo News

Sep 30, 2020

The protests started in Yaracuy but have since spread to other states in the country’s interior.

Residents accuse the government of neglecting the interior.

They say it diverts supplies to Caracas, where the government is based.

What are the protests about?

The grievances protesters cited as their reasons for taking to the streets were many, and included frequent power cuts and long spells in which the water supply to homes is cut, as well as shortages of petrol and gas used for cooking.

Many said that basic services in their community had ceased to function.

They were joined in some places by teachers demanding fair salaries and patients protesting about the poor conditions in the country’s hospitals.

Haven’t there been shortages for years?

Yes, Venezuelans have been struggling with power cuts, poor water supply and shortages of petrol, cooking gas and basic hygiene and food items for years.

But the coronavirus pandemic has made some of these shortages more acute.

Lockdowns introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus have forced Venezuelans to stay at home more, increasing the demand for already scarce supplies of propane gas.

If frequent cuts to the water supply caused anger before, it turned into outrage as Venezuelans could not wash their hands in the midst of the epidemic.

Many poorer Venezuelans live hand-to-mouth and the rolling lockdowns imposed by the government are making it even harder for many people to earn enough to feed themselves.

A study released by the United Nations World Food Programme in February – before the first case of the virus was reported in Venezuela – suggested that one in three Venezuelans were struggling to get enough food to meet the minimum nutrition requirements.

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