Military Seizes Control Of Water Supplies As Venezuelan Infrastructure Collapses

If there's one group that has benefited from Venezuela's economic collapse, it's the country's military, which has been handed control over much of the country's remaining industry as the collapse has intensified. Venezuela's army, about 160,000 strong, controls the mineral-rich Arco Minero del Orinoco, and some of its top officers are also serving as executives of Venezuela's state-run oil company.

VZ

And as the collapse of social services has caused water supplies to dwindle, the military has recently hijacked what spigots remain, transforming access to water into a luxury that most Venezuelans can't afford. Many of the pipes and reservoirs have fallen into disarray - or seen their supplies drastically diminished - the military is stepping in to take charge of the "equitable distribution" of what little remains. As part of the government's socialist policy program, the cost of water is supposed to be subsidized - at least in theory. But with the state-owned water utility, known as Hidrocapital, has effectively abdicated its responsibilities, the military is increasingly stepping in, commandeering trucks and vans used by private individuals who have tried to step in and service parts of the capital, according to a Bloomberg report.

Venezuela’s military has come to oversee the desperate and lucrative water trade as reservoirs empty, broken pipes flood neighborhoods and overwhelmed personnel walk out. Seven major access points in the capital of 5.5 million people are now run by soldiers or police, who also took total control of all public and private water trucks. Unofficially, soldiers direct where drivers deliver — and make them give away the goods at favored addresses.

Rigoberto Sanchez, who runs a water tanker that ferries water from the El Paraiso water-filling station in Caracas to an array of customers in the city, says his No. 1 business hazard is being intercepted by the military.

Those who want more must pay. Private tankers like Sanchez had been filling up and reselling water for many times its worth. Then, military personnel were deployed to the capital’s water points in May in an emergency supply plan.

The El Paraiso station is blocks from El Guaire, a filthy river carrying sewer water that the late President Hugo Chavez pledged to clean enough for a swim back in 2005. Even before the sun heats the muddy waters, the scent is putrid. It is untreated. Unpotable and drinking water must come from elsewhere.

Depending on driving distance from the water point, Sanchez charges about 18 million bolivars to fill an average residential building’s tank. For bigger jobs he can charge up to 50 million. While that’s just $17 at black-market exchange rates, compares that to a month’s minimum wage of about $1.

Recently, Sanchez has a new expense: Military officers have begun commandeering trucks, according to a dozen water providers in Caracas. Drivers are forced to go wherever officers tell them without the expectation of pay. Sometimes they’re led to government buildings, others to military residences or private homes. In other cases, soldiers simply block access to springs and wells. At a filling station near a large park in Eastern Caracas, a lock had been placed on the water lever.

[...]

"They hijack our trucks, just like that," said Sanchez, leaning on a rusty railing. "Once that happens, you’re in their hands, you have to drive the truck wherever they want you to."

President Nicolas Maduro last month appointed Evelyn Vasquez, a Hidrocapital official, as the head of a new water ministry. But Norberto Bausson, who ran the utility back in the 1990s, said that "institutional incompetence" is risking a "disaster" should Venezuela have a exceptionally dry year. Already, the utility sometimes cuts service int he capital for as long as two days at a stretch.

Three

People in Caracas, who on average only have access to water for 30 minutes every morning and night, frequently rush home from work and social gatherings to shower or collect water, racing against the clock before supplies are once again shut off. And while the situation in Caracas is dire, circumstances are even worse for poor Venezuelans living in the more remote provinces. To wit, a report from charity Caritas recently revealed that only 27% of poor Venezuelans have continuous access to safe drinking water. 65% have access for three days a week or less, while in the state of Miranda, not a single poor family has access for more than three days a week.

VZ

These shortages have made gathering the day's supply of water a tedious part of the morning routine for many families.

When water makes a rare appearance at Odalys Duque’s two-bedroom home, it’s usually at dawn and wakes her with a rattle at the bottom of a plastic drum. She then has to rush to align buckets, bins and pots in hopes of gathering every drop for her husband and two small children.

In mid June they’d had none for three weeks. Instead, they survived on what was left in a roof tank and what her husband could carry in paint buckets strapped on his shoulders from a well at the bottom of the sprawling hillside slum of Petare.

"It’s an ugly situation that keeps getting uglier," said Duque, 32. "The little one cries when I pour the bucket of cold water on him, but at least we still get something. My family that lives higher up the mountain hasn’t had water in months."

[...]

The situation governs much of Duque’s life. For drinking water, she waits for particles to settle at the bottom of plastic buckets and then pours the surface water into a pot where she boils it at least half an hour. For laundry, she’ll wash several loads of clothes and linens in the same dirty water.

Elderly people and children from neighborhoods even higher up the mountain knock on her door asking for water. "I always give them something, even if it’s just a glass," she said.

The lack of access to clean water, as horrifying as it sounds in Latin America's socialist paradise, is perhaps even more galling because of the $500 million in loans the country has received over the past decade from the Latin American Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to upgrade its water-treatment infrastructure. Unfortunately for the people of Venezuela, none of it appears to have helped.

While water shortages threaten the population with malnutrition and other diseases as people are forced to drink unclean or non-potable water just to survive, Bloomberg recently pointed out another shocking development: The cost of a single cup of coffee in Caracas has eclipsed one million bolivars (equal to about 29 US cents) That's about one-third of the average monthly wage in the country, which has slipped to roughly $1 thanks to the government's frantic money printing.

Coffee

Comments

Zerogenous_Zone D503 Fri, 06/29/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

ahhh...the sweet smell of rotting autocratic socialism...

 

and enjoy the slow burn...the longer it takes to hit bottom, the more we can reinforce another historic failed attempt at this elitist form of government control...

 

take note UN, IMF, EU and the WorldBank...the sleeping populace is beginning to wake up!

 

zerogenous_zone

In reply to by D503

Benjamin123 Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 06/29/2018 - 02:58 Permalink

Only those who earn money in the form of a salary are starving. The most humble "businessman" selling sunglasses laid on a tablecloth on a sidewalk keeps up with inflation, up to a point. They will never become part of the "I make $1 a year and im slowly dying" crowd. Many commie-at-heart doctors and college professors like to brag about working for free to help the people until they collapse of hunger, some serious helping they do.

The water situation is not new but obviously getting worse. When i was there 20 years ago my family had water tanks installed, which we filled up as soon as the water came back just by opening a valve. Before the tanks we had water barrels, which we filled with a hose, and that was before Chavez. To shower you had to boil water in the kitchen, mix it with the cold and take a few buckets into the shower. Sorts of defeats the whole "indoor plumbing" thing, at least we didnt have to walk 3 miles to a river like African women do on NatGeo.

In reply to by Shillinlikeavillan

css1971 Billy the Poet Fri, 06/29/2018 - 03:38 Permalink

Just old and poor.

You lose about 1% muscle a year after -35. Muscle is what does the burning of fat. The older you get the less carbs you can eat.

If you are poor and your diet sucks and you're eating cheap carbs instead of protein and fat, your insulin levels rise, preventing you from burning the fat so you end up fat and hungry.

Obesity is a sign of poverty, though obviously not starvation.

In reply to by Billy the Poet

GoozieCharlie szponiasty Fri, 06/29/2018 - 12:21 Permalink

At 1:53, "incluso" was enough for me.  I know fake Spanish when I see it (I took 2 courses in linguistics at U of M and lived in San Antonio TX, overlooking the riverwalk, for 6 months].  Can't fool me!

Reminds me of that hilarious comic in Mad Magazine 50 years ago..."Pedro! Que Pablo?  Pedro...Ahsso itchito like hello!  Needo remidio!..[6 frames later, during which Pablo declines Pedro's sage advice, Pedro replies].....Bueno Pablo, Picasso!" [one of the funniest comics I've ever seen.  I've never forgotten it]

In reply to by szponiasty

Atavists R Us halcyon Fri, 06/29/2018 - 02:23 Permalink

from the Saker website, a completely different (and factual) light on why Venezuela is in trouble (AND IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF SOCIALISM):

"A real foreign imposed economic crisis is in full swing. Venezuela’s black money market is manipulated by Twitter mainly from Miami and occasionally corrected from Colombia, depending on the availability from Venezuela stolen contraband, offered to better-off cross-border customers. This is missing merchandise on Venezuela’s supermarket shelves. It’s imported merchandise – mostly food and medical supplies – fully paid by the government. This has nothing to do with Venezuela being broke and unable of paying for needed imports. The media which propagate such slander are criminal liars, typical for western “journalism”. It is merchandise stolen, captured at the ports of entry by US trained gangs and deviated as smuggle-ware mostly to Colombia, the new NATO country. The scheme is a carbon copy of what happened in 1973 in Chile, orchestrated by the CIA to bring the Allende Government to fall. People have a short memory – or they like to forget – to keep implementing their disastrous neoliberal agenda."

Moreover:

"...Venezuela has by far the world’s largest known reserves in hydrocarbon under her territory – more than 300 billion barrels of petrol, vs. 266 billion barrels, the second largest, of Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is a neighbor, just across the Caribbean, of the United States’ arsenal of refineries in Texas. It takes about 3 to 4 days shipping time from Venezuela to the Texan refineries, as compared to 40-45 days from the Gulf States, from where the US imports about 60% of its oil – to be shipped through the high-risk Iran controlled Strait of Hormuz. "

link here: http://thesaker.is/venezuela-towards-an-economy-of-resistance/

Can anyone perhaps see a reason to destabilize Venezuela? It wouldn't matter if Venezuela was a capitalist country. As long as Venezuela doesn't bow down to the Anglozionists in Washington and give away their oil and resources to the neocohens, then they run the National Endowment for Democracy playbook, plus do a lot of destabilizing and blame it on the government or "socialism" - and ZH is a useful idiot in this regard.

So ZH, are you being extremely hypocritical when you keep ragging on Venezuela, blaming all its ills on "socialism"? Or did you not realize that the anglozionist elites are doing to Venezuela what they did to Chile in '73? And you blame socialism for it? Who are you being paid by? Is your boss's name Soros or is it Nitwityahoo? Are you part of the AZ mouthpieces? By the way, how's the Western CAPITALIST system working out for the world? All rainbows and unicorns for everyone in the Western capitalist world? Or only for the select few?

In reply to by halcyon

Atavists R Us css1971 Fri, 06/29/2018 - 12:43 Permalink

Like so many 'mericans, you don't actually think, instead you react violently and ignorantly to any mention of the word "socialism". Try to get this through that rock that you call your skull: socialism is not the same as communism. Moreover, every system in practice has its good points and its bad points. No system is perfect. Do you live in the USA? Then i feel sorry for you and i've made my point, especially if you're one of the millions unemployed / underemployed / homeless / sick and without any medical care / going hungry. Chances are high that you are in major debt. But for people like you, who are terminally short of a couple of neurons and filled to the brim with AZ brainwashing and hatred for all things non-AZ, you neither understand nor try to reason. Instead, you go the traditional SJW route and go after people that do not 100% agree with your view of "reality". I'll even bet that hearing or reading the word "socialism" makes you angry, but you haven't the faintest idea why it makes you feel that way. Just "because".

You don't even know what "1st order thinking" is, since you've never actually ever arrived there.

In reply to by css1971

Atavists R Us hannah Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

You know, you are such a typical american moron who doesn't have a clue about the world around you and resorts to expletives that only show the true contents of your head - absolutely nothing, except a vacuum. You really don't have the brain capacity necessary to actually understand anything. You're like a recording machine, but less intelligent.

I'll spell it out for you again, from the article i quoted earlier:

"Imagine, Venezuela has by far the world’s largest known reserves in hydrocarbon under her territory – more than 300 billion barrels of petrol, vs. 266 billion barrels, the second largest, of Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is a neighbor, just across the Caribbean, of the United States’ arsenal of refineries in Texas. It takes about 3 to 4 days shipping time from Venezuela to the Texan refineries, as compared to 40-45 days from the Gulf States, from where the US imports about 60% of its oil – to be shipped through the high-risk Iran controlled Strait of Hormuz. And on top of this, Venezuela, is a socialist country defending the rights of the working class, fostering solidarity, human rights and sheer human values, so close to the borders of an abject neoliberal and increasing militarized greed-driven dictatorship, pretending untouchable ‘exceptionalism’. Daring to stand up against the threats of boots and bombs from the North, is simply intolerable for Washington.

A real foreign imposed economic crisis is in full swing. Venezuela’s black money market is manipulated by Twitter mainly from Miami and occasionally corrected from Colombia, depending on the availability from Venezuela stolen contraband, offered to better-off cross-border customers. This is missing merchandise on Venezuela’s supermarket shelves. It’s imported merchandise – mostly food and medical supplies – fully paid by the government. This has nothing to do with Venezuela being broke and unable of paying for needed imports. The media which propagate such slander are criminal liars, typical for western “journalism”. It is merchandise stolen, captured at the ports of entry by US trained gangs and deviated as smuggle-ware mostly to Colombia, the new NATO country. The scheme is a carbon copy of what happened in 1973 in Chile, orchestrated by the CIA to bring the Allende Government to fall. People have a short memory – or they like to forget – to keep implementing their disastrous neoliberal agenda."

And exactly: Not only me, but everyone else in the world is blaming the USA and its minions BECAUSE IT ALL STARTS WITH THE SHITHEADS THAT RUN YOUR COUNTRY AND SHITHEADS LIKE YOU. All the USA and the AZ know is destruction, robbery and causing untold misery. But don't fret none. The rest of the world is in the process of curing the diseases known as Anglozionism and the USA.

Already people around the globe are ridiculing americans, and for excellent reasons. Live with it.

In reply to by hannah

hannah Atavists R Us Sat, 06/30/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

Venezuela is a country run by a corrupt mafia dictatorship that steals everything it can from the citizens. it is the perfect example of 'socialism'.....the elite steal from the people. you are right...the world is changing and soon all the money the usa give to these 3rd world countries will end and you will get to live like you did in the 1600's. no power no medicine scrounging a living.....

In reply to by Atavists R Us

shortonoil Atavists R Us Fri, 06/29/2018 - 07:14 Permalink

Venezuela has almost no "reserves" of hydrocarbons. It has a large hydrocarbon "resource", which is mostly a tar like substance with almost no value. Most of Venezuela's hydrocarbons are not worth the cost of taking them out of the ground. It is a myth that Venezuela is rich in oil; one that the stupid media just keeps perpetuating. Venezuela is the poster child for what is happening to our petroleum based civilization.

http://www.thehillsgroup.org/

 

In reply to by Atavists R Us

GoozieCharlie Atavists R Us Fri, 06/29/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

If Venezuela really did, in fact, have all the "bubblin' crude" they claim, and, with that proximity to SE Texas you mention, I'm certain, that by now, there'd be way more -itzes than -ezes in Caracas.  Caracas has steadily (over decades) looked less and less like Buenos Aires (if you get my drift). 

Lake Maracaibo might as well be re-named "Lake La Brea."  [I read about this somewhere years ago, and the same about the Nigeria "lode" in the Bight of Biafra...but like a lot of other things [like the oodles of NG everywhere thingee for one], quickly "removed" from print, that post (and its prompt disappearance)  curiously sometimes in close temporal proximity to mysterious murders and "suicides."]

In reply to by Atavists R Us

szponiasty Pool Shark Fri, 06/29/2018 - 07:29 Permalink

More bullshit with no credible sources about Venesuela. I prefer to believe people, who actually been there, like Abby Martin.
https://youtu.be/YUYWrPiUeWY

Oh and isn't it funny, how suddenly dems, reps, neocons and neoliberals, as well as mainstream and alternate media like Zero Hedge, all suddenly have exactly the same stance about that bad "venesuelan regime"? :D 

You are being bamboozled. AGAIN!

In reply to by Pool Shark