- Title: Venezuela Christmas decorations light up anger over blackouts
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (DECEMBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PERSON LOOKING AT AND RECORDING VIDEO OF THE CHRISTMAS DECORATION ON THE GUAIRE RIVER VARIOUS PEOPLE WALKING ALONG GUAIRE RIVER, LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS DECORATION VARIOUS OF LUISA CHAVEZ LOOKING AT THE CHRISTMAS DECORATION HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER OF LUISA CHAVEZ IN FRONT OF THE DECORATION (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LUISA CHAVEZ, CARACAS RESIDENT, SAYING: "It's contradictory because it's something that we are living day to day, all of us Venezuelans. Here in Caracas, it's not perceived much, nevertheless there are many places where there's no light and we don't know, we don't know, and for that, I say to you that it's contradictory because although in truth that here everything is illuminated suddenly, three blocks away there's no light, so it's a very complicated issue." KIDS PLAYING IN FRONT OF THE LIGHTS VARIOUS OF THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ABOVE THE GUAIRE RIVER MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA (DECEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) THE GENERAL RAFAEL URDANETA BRIDGE IN MARACAIBO WITHOUT LIGHTS PERSON GETTING INTO A TAXI ON A HIGHWAY WITHOUT LIGHTS A STREET WITHOUT MANY LIGHTS VARIOUS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS LIT BY CANDLE VARIOUS OF KARELYS ALCANTARA, SEATED ON HER SOFA WITHOUT LIGHT (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) KARELYS ALCANTARA, HOUSEWIFE, SAYING: "I feel powerless. I feel horrible. I feel sad and depressed. It makes me very angry because it's not possible for us to live like this, to see how they take away the light. My food has gone bad, I don't have cold water, I have to sleep in the heat, the mosquitoes bite me. It's something depressing. Truthfully, this really makes me sick and affects my stomach. This electricity problem has me totally out of control because it's not possible for me, at this stage in my life, to have to tackle this problem." STREET WITHOUT MUCH LIGHT PERSON OPENING DOOR TO PARKING LOT ALEXANDER MORALES, MARACAIBO RESIDENT, DURING INTERVIEW ALEXANDER MORALES, MARACAIBO RESIDENT, SAYING: "We've had more than 15 years without electric service due to a problem of transformers that were damaged. They exploded and overheated due to lack of maintenance. And now we've suffered more than 15 days without electricity. Regrettably, many people have had to leave the area, with many kids and many older people suffering. This is sad." A HIGHWAY WITHOUT LIGHT A LIT-UP ANGEL DECORATION WITH THE CITY IN DARKNESS VARIOUS OF VEHICLES DRIVING ON A HIGHWAY WITHOUT LIGHT CARACAS, VENEZUELA (DECEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING AMID CHRISTMAS LIGHTS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING AND SEATED IN FRONT OF LIGHT THAT SAYS "TOGETHER EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TOGETHER UNDER A TREE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CAROLINA CESTARI, CHIEF OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CAPITAL DISTRICT, SAYING: "We have been recovering the light throughout the capital city. The damage that has been done to us from an economic point has been very big. And President Nicolas Maduro has taken the lead to face this challenge to light every space we pass. We can't illuminate 100 percent of everything at once but I can say to you that today our city is in better lighting conditions than a year ago." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING AND GATHERED IN A PLAZA DECORATED WITH LIGHTS
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 13:38
- Keywords: Christmas Christmas lights Christmas lights in Venezuela Christmas season electricity outages in Veneuela electricity problems in Venezuela holidays
- Location: CARACAS AND MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS AND MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAD7GHV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's government has sparked a holiday controversy by hanging Christmas lights in major cities, decorations that many say have no place in a country suffering chronic blackouts.
The adornments introduced by President Nicolas Maduro's government from November include an illuminated cross atop the mountain that borders the capital Caracas.
The decorations were met with anger following a year of several nationwide power interruptions and a steady decline in service for most citizens.
"It's contradictory because it's something that we are living day to day, all of us Venezuelans," said Caracas resident Luisa Chavez at a light display above the Guaire River. "Although in truth that here everything is illuminated suddenly, three blocks away there's no light, so it's a very complicated issue."
Caracas municipal official Carolina Cestari defended the decision to light up 22 public places, including part of the polluted Guaire river.
Cestari said energy consumption was small thanks to power-saving bulbs provided by political ally China, and the lights would provide holiday cheer for poorer families.
Even some of the critics on social media have noted that shutting off Christmas lights would do little to improve access to electricity.
Venezuela was plunged into darkness in March after a nationwide blackout that Maduro blamed on the United States. Critics say power problems are driven by corruption, mismanagement and under investment.
The capital's power supplies have largely been restored since then. But blackouts in the provinces continue to interrupt everything from routine commerce to emergency medical procedures.
In the second city of Maracaibo, where a large display of lights sits at one end of an iconic bridge at the entrance to the city where electricity is exceptionally precarious, resident Alexander Morales complained about the situation.
"We've had more than 15 years without electric service due to a problem of transformers that were damaged. They exploded and overheated due to lack of maintenance. And now we've suffered more than 15 days without electricity," he said. "Regrettably, many people have had to leave the area, with many kids and many older people suffering. This is sad."
(Production: Johnny Carvajal, Efrain Otero, Jose Nunez)
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