Lights out in Venezuela—and lots of political heat


It seems ironic that Venezuela, the world’s biggest oil producer outside the Persian Gulf, should be buffeted by massive electrical blackouts. But with 80% of their power generation derived from hydropower and the country facing its worst drought in at least half a century, Venezuelans are not amused. Since September, rolling blackouts of two hours daily have made Venezuelan life arduous. Life became tougher last month, when medium- and large-scale businesses were ordered to reduce their electricity use by 20%, some cities faced up to four hours of daily blackouts through government rationing, and state companies producing steel, iron and aluminum limped along at less than two-thirds of capacity. The disruptions have stoked criticism of President Hugo Chávez’s government, in particular for failing... [Log in to read more]

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