“We’re confronting monsters who want to destroy Venezuela.”
Following an announcement Sunday that Venezuela would be rationing citizens’ electricity for a period of 30 days, the nation’s “efficient energy use director” told women not to blow dry their hair between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
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The strange request came Monday night during a state TV segment and was highlighted by Bloomberg reporter Patricia Laya.
Venezuela's "efficient energy use director" tells women not to blow dry their hair from 6 to 10pm on state TV. Now this might be the final tipping point. pic.twitter.com/fzLRLOiEIq
— Patricia Laya (@PattyLaya) April 1, 2019
The policy comes as Venezuela continues to be mired in a humanitarian crisis under the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro, who made the announcement Sunday regarding the country’s rationing of electricity.
During a televised address, Maduro said the rationing would include shutting off power deliberately for the next month. He added that the Venezuelan workday will will now end at 2 p.m., and schools will remain closed.
The news comes as Maduro struggles to get a grip on the power outages plaguing the nation. The blackouts started in early March, causing 70% of the population, including residents in Venezuelan capital of Caracas, to be without power.
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Maduro was defiant during the address, continuing to accuse the United States of “sabotage” as his nation mires in an economic free-fall.
“We’re confronting monsters who want to destroy Venezuela,” Maduro said.
Blaming the United States is nothing new for Venezuelan leadership. Just last week, the country’s information minister attempted to denounce the opposition on live TV. Ironically, that broadcast was plagued with problems due to the blackout.
Venezuela’s information minister is doing a live broadcaster to nation to denounce the opposition but because of blackout it looks like this pic.twitter.com/ljGMKcNo3q
— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) March 25, 2019
While Venezuela is currently under heavy U.S. sanctions, experts say the embattled leader is to blame for the collapse of the country’s electric grid.
“Since 2013 the grid has been in crisis, but the billions of dollars Maduro dedicated to it were largely pilfered,” said David Smilde, a Venezuelan expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Vox News.
“The only thing that prevented this from happening before is the economic contraction of the past several years,” Smilde said. “Declining industry, declining consumption, and a declining population have reduced demand. But now the deterioration of the grid has caught up with that decline.”
Winton Cabas, president of the Venezuelan association of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, said Monday during an interview that the country’s power grid is running well below capacity.
“The whole power grid is barely generating between 5,500 and 6,000 megawatts, when it has the capacity to generate 34,000 megawatts,” Cabas said.
Electricity rationing is the latest in a string of scandals entangling Maduro. An economic crisis resulting in widespread poverty and hunger has put into question Maduro’s hold on the socialist Latin American nation he governs. In response, the United States and many other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the rightful president.
Maduro retaliated by cutting off diplomatic ties with neighboring countries and expelling U.S. diplomats from Venezuela.
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