Inside Venezuela’s Blackout: How Maduro’s Power Endures | The Dispatch

Posted by

We’re inside a
Venezuelan prison with the minister for the
prison service, Iris Varela. She is a close confidante
of President Nicolás Maduro. And today, she is escorting a
delegation from the Red Cross on a visit that will
air on state television. Ms. Varela’s press office
had invited us here. But it appears she didn’t
want us to take the full tour. We tag along anyway,
curious to see what the system supporting
Maduro looks like. The government had
closed this building down after a deadly riot. Then they reopened
it and named it the Center for the
Formation of the New Man. None of the men here
are Venezuelan. We learned that they’re
mostly Colombians held for crimes like murder
and drug trafficking. Ms. Varela tries to show
that the state treats people with dignity. The reality we see
tells a different story, starting here on this
staged tour, where there’s no real mention of the one issue consuming the prison
and the country: a nationwide blackout. Venezuela has been
in crisis for years, but this power failure
that lasted about a week is unprecedented. Even in the capital,
it practically paralyzed life and showed that
things could still get worse. We visit Alberto Diaz
and his wife, Miriam. Alberto runs a small watch
repair shop with his sons. It’s the family’s
main source of income, and they use most of it just
to put food on the table. They also depend on
government handouts. It’s clear to us
they’re frustrated. But they’re careful when
it comes to criticizing the government. Without electricity,
the family also has no access
to running water. So Miriam stores what
she can and rations it. During the day,
we see Venezuelans scramble to get water. Some are so desperate,
they try and collect it from dirty drain pipes. We can’t shoot freely
on the streets. Security is everywhere,
restricting access to places where hardship
is most visible, like here at this public
children’s hospital. Doctors are outside, speaking
about the dire conditions on the inside. We’re not allowed
in the hospital, so we meet with
Andrea Verde in the car. Andrea is the mother of a
7-year-old cancer patient. She tells us she sold
her apartment and her car to cover a fraction
of the treatment. Now she’s living at the
hospital with her daughter. We can’t say that
it’s the blackout that sent her into intensive care. But what’s certain
is that people are feeling the compounding
effects of one crisis after another. And that’s pushed some to
take the risk and speak out. But not everybody
blames Maduro. We head to the 23 de Enero slum, where the government still
enjoys widespread support. Murals of Hugo Chavez,
Venezuela’s former leader, are everywhere. He’s seen as a hero
here for pouring money into social programs
to lift the poor. And before he died, he picked
Maduro as his successor. Jesus Arellano is 25,
and he’s unemployed, and so he relies
almost exclusively on government benefits. Benefits like access to
food baskets, medicine and pensions, but these perks
are not doled out purely based on need. Fatherland cards carry
personal information — voting records,
social media activity, political affiliation. So government benefits favor
pro-government behavior. It’s why this show of
support for Maduro doesn’t feel entirely genuine. Thousands gathered
when the government called for a protest
during the blackout. But are they here out
of choice or need? We asked them why
they came out. We hear it over and over,
people repeating what the government claims — that the United States is
responsible for the most recent disaster. There is no evidence
of direct sabotage. But that claim fits into
a popular narrative here: that U.S. sanctions
against Maduro are generally making
people’s lives worse. Jesus is referring
to Juan Guaidó. In January, Guaidó declared
himself interim president and used U.S. support
to mobilize the opposition and try to force
Maduro out of power. At this Guaidó rally
we’re attending, he appears strong
and defiant — — inspiring thousands
of supporters. Guaidó continues to provoke,
but so far Maduro has withstood the challenge. And for now, he still sits
in the presidential palace.


  1. Hello everyone. I'm Neil and I produced this video. I've just returned from Caracas, where all of the filming took place. I'll be monitoring the comments section and answering your questions. Ask me anything!
    Hola a todos/as. Soy Neil y he producido este video. Acabo de regresar de Caracas, donde el rodaje tuvo lugar. Estaré monitoreando la sección de comentarios y respondiendo a sus preguntas. Pregúntame cualquier cosa!

  2. Fake empty profiles easily spotted "I live in Venezuela…blah, blah everybody hungry, blah, blah ,blah, Madura bad, blah, blah, CIA good, blah , blah"

  3. Hugo Chavez caused this mess. Him nationalizing the oil industry and seizing the assets of private investors has in the long term economically ruined Venezuela. Once the oil prices dropped it was going to be Unsustainable. Right now who would invest in Venezuela? Would you invest in a country that might randomly nationalize your assets and seize them? Even rich Venezuelans moved their money to safer markets.

    Compare Chavez to deng xiaoping. One guaranteed the safety of foreign capital to encourage investment and one showed that no investor's money was safe. You can't have a country that is so anti business that no rational person would ever start a business there and you need social safety nets that protect the people. You need to balance capitalism and socialism. Eg Germany. Venezuela went too socialist.

  4. Power failure? Why don’t you speak the truth and say, US SABOTAGE? They receive government handouts because the US has sanctions against food, money, and medicine. All these so called documentaries are geared towards a specific agenda.

  5. What a ignorant woman quoting Mandela, after she says Venezuela is the best country in the would.Such ignorance.We as planet earth need to sad

  6. Venezuela's woes are due to mismanagement and lawlessness, not so much "socialism". China is Communist yet doesn't have these problems. Venezuela cannot be fixed unless the transnational criminal cartels are neutralized. Smugglers resell subsidized food and medicine in foreign markets. I don't see a peaceful soft solution. The country will have to go through a military dictatorship phase to clean out the criminality, otherwise it will stagnate in perpetual chaos. A country with the world's largest oil reserves cannot be this poor, it needs law and order.

  7. Chee after hearing that Venezuela is the best country's best democracy in the world from that woman devil mouth Chee hw dare u say that ?? She not fit called as ……………!!!
    I'm so sorry for the needy people's out there

  8. Sanctions = siege warfare = economic collapse this is crimes to humanity that has been going on for more then a decade it’s easy to blame maduro there is a lot of evidence the sanctions attack the poorest and more fragile citizens. Guiado is a puppet who wants chaos and civil war to take place in order to give power to USA.

  9. Definition of comunism: Abusing ignorant and needy people

    Definition del comunismo: abusar de Los ignorant es y Los necesitados

  10. Economic strangulation, diplomatic sabotage and social disorder is how America has broken Venezuela and many other countries that have governments that the U.S. does not like. ??‍♂️

  11. Lol. Only the fraction of people still supporting Maduro are unemployed and using free benefits and don't feel ashamed about themselves. Incompetency.

  12. this place no angels the government enforcement is getting to be one of worse gestapo they will follow you with their posses just like in Venezuela or Russia or China is just they do it behind our backs & they do it to the most vulnerable then comes the middle class while they lose their homes their property alot them can np longer afford to feed their kids because of miserable pay of course they say the economy is good but for who for the rich while they & wheel in white house they filling their pockets & living la vida loca that's on OUR money our government follow us on our phones our computers when you go to the doctor they say swipe you I.D. card i have always refuse AND WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING at T.V. or by your sound device yest folks there you have it but don't believe me do the research your will be surprise.I hope that the Venuezuelan people will not get help from another wanna be tyrant you can do it with out the him because it will cost you dearly you can do it he's in power because you & you can IT YOU ALL HAVE COME OUT TO WHERE HE LIVES & WHERE HE STAYS MAKE HE'S LIFE MISERABLE. GOD'S SPEED.


  14. One can see that she is a part of the political elite, a sure way to recognize them is their bodyweight. The fat people in Venezuela are the ruling elite, the rest are bones and skin. One can see some fat criminals to.

  15. Discuss the United States imposed economic siege. Go talk to the finance minister see what he says. This is a propaganda report. Sad.


  17. Gente de Venezuela, solo quiero que todos sepan que escuchamos su llanto y su dolor. Este mensaje llega desde Jamaica. Recuerdo cuando Chávez ayudó a rescatar a Jamaica de la deuda de I.M.F hace un par de años y nos dio dinero y un buen negocio de petróleo. nuestro gobierno aquí le da la espalda a ustedes y apoyo a Trump cuando deberían estar ayudando a la gente de Venezuela, Venezuela quiero que sepan que la gente de Jamaica no da la espalda y sentimos su dolor y todo el Cosas malas que les están pasando a ustedes. Traduzco este mensaje del inglés al español porque en jamaica hablamos inglés y espero que lo entiendan bien. Dios bendiga a Venezuela y al pueblo y su presidente Nicolás maduro.

  18. Why a F***en Guidog face are a F***en similar with a F***en Obama face on, eh?.


  19. Regarding the lady who has a daughter in the Hospital De Ninos; Why do you use that format? What is the purpose of that?

  20. Maduro is a legally and demcraticly elected leader, unlike the fake president. The only reason West is against Maduro is because they want Venezuela's oil!
    greetings from Serbia

  21. This is not rocket science, folks. Cut the BS. The opposition is not as popular as the Socialists. The opposition in conjunction with the USA are trying to circumvent this by undoing the will of the people which was ascertained through LEGITIMATE elections.


  23. Wow China says the same thing, with the same beaten down faces in the background. Socialism's paradise…… and people want that here??It always ends the same – people suffer, the socialist government and their supporters keep people in captivity.

  24. Women love the marxist idea. That’s we all have troubles with this ideological pest. Too many women in politics and influencing positions.

  25. If I were there interviewing her and saying that Venezuela is the best country and having the best government in the world, I would surely gonna laugh so bad.

  26. Going in the streets accomplishes nothing, I hate to say. Blockades like Mauna Kea, and strikes, are different. They put them over a barrel. But protests just go nowhere, and only cause more dissention. I'm not an economics major, but it's not socialism that's to blame for Venezuela. It was the oil prices collapse, with a communist, NOT SOCIALIST, system that had few options to help compensate, having had little business revenue from the free world, outside of oil sales. Chavez should have gone the more moderate-left route. Half of their GDP was from oil. Chavez had the high oil prices to keep him in power. Maduro doesn't. So he's resorted to criminal activity, and profiteering on the crisis. Maduro should convert to a social democracy like Canada or Europe, solicit investment and tourism from the free world, and get a new constitution. Or step down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *