It is a technical term used in the operational sector to describes current events in our troubled country more accurately than the term “Apagón”;
Since March 7, the country was completely dark due to a total collapse of the national power sector, which brought down with it all basic services: communications, hospital assistance, transportation, gas, water; not to mention the despair of the population and further deterioration of living conditions, its impact on the productive and defense systems, refrigeration chains, food and medicament preservation, and the rampant security problems. The entire country was paralysed and traumatised.
At the time of writing, the majority of the national territory has been in darkness for over 40 hours, reports are still being received of loss of power in nearly the entire country, with the exception of some areas of Caracas and other urban areas, where service has been reestablished in an unstable manner. I ignore whether our country will remain in the dark, isolated from the world, as my writing goes to press. It is an unusual and very serious situation.
A “blackout”occurs when the whole of a complex installation or operational system collapses, either because of its low reliability, or because there are no backup systems, no protections, and no alarms work properly; it affects indeed vulnerable systems which, as certain key system components fail, the system spirals out of control and shuts down completely.
A “blackout”occurs when a key system component fails and triggers a chain reactions that is too quick or violent for the operator to manage. It is no longer a failure but a qualitatively different event: faults cascading at such a high speed that they exceed the operator’s response capacity, and the result of which is the total collapse of the system, its complete shut-down.
When this happens, all alarms and emergency procedures must be activated, all operation and management resources must be at their post. Responsible teams must immediately identify the source of the failure, its impact, and report to management, which must inform the public and make the right decisions in real time, even more so if it is a public service or high impact in the community.
In this sort of events, one must act immediately according to pre-established procedures; that is when the knowledge, professionalism and leadership of the teams responsible for the operation and management comes int play, identifying and resolving the origin failure and restoring all systems, one by one, with emergency criteria, since the system must be restored in a matter of hours.
I am sure, knowing of their capabilities and commitment, that the workers of Corpoelec have done the utmost to solve this operational collapse of the sector. A collapse, on the other hand, of which they have warned on endless occasions, and that, paradoxically, has lead to the prosecution, dismissal and imprisonment of many of them. I am also sure that the management of the sector not only lacks knowledge and capacity, but that they have been overcome by the events and left at a loss, without response.
Employees, engineers, technicians and workers know that the blackout has nothing to do with sabotage, nor with the command action of some “twitter general”; This disaster has its origin in the terrible management of those who have been at the head of the sector in these years of Madurismo: Ignorance, sectarianism, indolence, lack of maintenance, anticipation, and alarms.
A strategic sector placed under the incompetent management of one of Madurismo’s power groups, the so-called “panas”, where workers are prosecuted, wrong decisions are made or none is taken; it has permanently exposed entire regions of the country to the calamity of power cuts, blackouts, blaming failures on iguanas, sabotage or other flimsy excuses. Today, they shamelessly talk about “a power war”, blatantly taking the population for total idiots.
In any case, the electricity sector, due to its strategic nature, prepared itself during the government of President Chávez for the contingency of a conflict or external attack on the system, diversifying thus its generation sources through the incorporation over 4,000 MW of thermo-electric facilities. This would create sufficient capacity in the different regions and strategic sectors of the country to reduce dependency on the Guri.
Now, not only hydroelectric generation from the south and the transmission systems that cross the country have collapsed, including many substations and distribution systems, but also the large thermo-electric plants, which were installed with so much effort and delivered to Corpoelec for their management, or in PDVSA, or in the Basic Companies (Empresas Básicas), the majority of which are out of operation, either due to lack of maintenance, spare parts, cannibalization of their parts and deterioration of their service facilities, or because there is no diesel fuel or gas.
This collapse happens despite the fact that the national electricity demand has fallen significantly, from a maximum of 18,600 MW in 2011 to less than 13,600 MW at present, precisely because of the accumulated contraction of the economy of over 50% of GDP in this period; therefore, these systems, therefore, should be sufficient to guarantee — at least — this reduced demand if properly maintained.
Furthermore, the hundreds of large-capacity, distributed generation power plants that were installed in the country’s strategic sites failed to start. As a result, pumping stations, hospitals, telecommunication centers, airports, and fuel distribution plants stopped dead. Simply put: Nothing’s working anymore.
The thesis of sabotage looks like another excuse, the speech to mobilise the troops; in fact, however, there is a serious failure of the whole system and its contingency plans, even upon sabotage. But claiming “sabotage” excuses everything and continues to cloud the real issue, i.e the government’s incompetence and the dangerous vulnerability of our Homeland.
What is more, no government member reports what it is really underway, nor do they act in defense of the population. Without information, citizens don’t know what to expect. Meanwhile, there is no water, no telecommunications, patients in intensive care or with serious health problems die, as do newborns in need of neonatal care. Many hospitals cannot receive emergency assistance; in the El Valle maternity hospital, medical personnel perform heroic acts to save children’s lives, because respirators fail to work; medicines and the food rot, the population desperately looks for ice to preserve food or medicines.
The nights, especially in the popular areas of big cities, unfold uneasily among shooting, shouting and invectives, and the action of armed groups of any affiliation makes them akin to a war zone.
Faced with this situation of chaos and national emergency, the people are alone and, beyond Twitter and propaganda, the government is paralysed. It acts more like a political party than an actual government. It is their responsibility to support the people in this emergency; they must have been on the streets, with portable systems in hospitals, helping, patrolling, offering professional support and the logistical capabilities of the government, state companies and the Bolivarian Armed Forces . Where are the government leaders? Where are the rescue, help, and support groups? Making grandiose statements does not cut it anymore: The Government must act!
Maduro is hidden, he is afraid of an attack on his person; the ministers refrain form facing the people because they lack leadership, they cannot be in the street, but in controlled environments. Where is the PSUV ? It should be with the people, lending a hand, wrapping up its sleeves, reporting.
We, Chavistas, endured a true sabotage which was driven by the “oil meritocracy”. Between December 2002 and January 2003, the Oil Sabotage paralysed the heart of the country; everything was chaotic, there was no gasoline, no gas, refineries and production were sabotaged; we only produced 23 thousand oil barrels per day at the beginning of 2003; the opposition took to the streets to stir up violence, and the corporate stoppage left the country without food and services.
But President Chávez took to the streets to figth and with him we — his ministers — did likewise, facing, leading the recovery operations of PDVSA, all together, the managers and workers (many of whom are now political hostages of the government), facing political violence, the chaos of the coup opposition.
With our generals, admirals, officers and patriotic soldiers, together with workers and the people, we recovered the facilities, services, one by one: Yagua, Puerto La Cruz, Jose, El Palito, CRP, Amuay-Cardón, Pilín León, all our transport fleet, our ships, production in the East, in the West, gas.
We brought the country back to normal, despite all sort of attacks and the prevailing violence; we fought alongside the people, with the Homeland, with Chávez, in defense of all Venezuelans, whatever their colour, it was for our sovereignty and independence that we fought.
What a difference with the current situation — regardless of Maduristas’ claims that “the price was a hundred dollars a barrel at the time” or that it all was a “a children’s story”, as Herodes likes to repeat. No, it was the most difficult situation possible. Not only was production at 23 thousand oil barrels a day at a price under 22 dollars per barrel, but we were just reeling from a coup d’état, and there was a total stoppage by Fedecamaras. Still, we had sacred reasons to fight, there were ideas, passion, courage, morals and ethics towards the people. Chavez never lied, we never lied to the people, we never misled our country. Those were the times of the Revolution.
Now, there is no government to deal with the situation, there is no leader. The spokesmen of the Madurismo only insist on blaming the supposed sabotage, the power war (yet another war), even attributing sabotaging and acting capacities in the national territory to congressmen and “foreign commandos”, in a sector that has been completely militarized for a long time.
The Ministers of the Government, their spokesmen and leaders of the PSUV mechanically repeat the thesis of the “imperialist attack” to the power sector; if this were indeed true, it would be something to proof and explain to the world, instead of uttering empty statements such as “the truth will be known because God is with us”. With this argument, convenient for them and impervious to discussion, they give free rein to the government, which improvises and continues to impose the absurd thesis of “whatever Maduro says”; they ignore the people’s sentiment, being increasingly distant and indolent with them.
The feeling of despair and frustration continues to deepen, becoming the breeding ground for uncontrolled hatred and rage. Those on Twitter and other social networks take advantage of this indolence of the government and their non-existent policy to boost their preaching against Chavez who, in the end, becomes the scape goat of Maduro’s disaster.
This dysfunctional situation in the country, leaves popular sentiment to extremist sectors that demand revenge, and “eye for an eye”, foreign invasion, etc., which are as dangerous as harmful to society and the country. This anti-patriotic position advances, riding on the Madurista disaster, bent on destroying the Chavistas, the opposition and the interests of the Homeland.
This emboldens sectors that applaud an unjust and absurd decision of an arbitral tribunal against the country and in favor of the “Conoco Phillips”, which takes advantage of a country when it is down and out. What is more, they openly ask for the surrender of the Homeland and the oil reserves to large multinationals, demand a foreign intervention, a military attack or any other adventure that can bring them to power, without even considering the years of war and destabilization that will surely ensue.
The worst damage that Maduro has done is that, by destroying the country and the work of President Chávez, he has opened the doors to fascism and an anti-national sentiment, as never before in our history.
Beyond what has happened in the country since last March 7 with Corpoelec and the blackout, the serious and worrying thing is that this is but one more fact in a series of cascading events, already out of control, and that are leading the country to a total collapse, to a “blackout”, which will be extremely dangerous to our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
For it is not only Corpoelec’s inoperability, power cuts, the usual rationing, and the “blackout” of March that matters: first, it was the prosecution and destruction of PDVSA, with the ensuing oil production collapse; then, it was the endless promises and the so-called paquetazos that destroyed the economy, triggering an hyperinflationary process, production contraction down to war levels, mega devaluation, the destruction of the currency and the value of work.
After that, we saw the exodus of over 3 million Venezuelans, most of them young; the dismantling of the Social Missions and the re-emergence of absurd levels of poverty and extreme poverty, the increase of inequality and social injustice; the collapse of public transport and the cemeteries of thousands of Yutong, the collapse water distribution, the disappearance of gas cylinders, and gasoline rationing; the dismantling of the Misión Alimentación, the collapse in the production and distribution of food and medicines; the insecurity and proliferation of “pranes”, now allies to the government and its celebrity minister.
But it is not only a “blackout” in the economic and operational area of the country, of public services and the social sphere, it has also been a collapse of politics: the violation of the Constitution, the imposition of the Constituent Assembly, which has passed all possible red lines, the “lobotomy” of the PSUV, the censorship, the fear, the imposition of mechanisms of social control; the assault and destruction of institutions: the Prosecutor’s Office, the Judiciary, the hundreds killed by political violence in the streets, political hostages and exiles; the political assassinations, those dead in custody, thrown off buildings, blasted away, or beaten to death, like the recent case of the young Chavista militant Ali Domínguez; the tricky pacts, politics under the table , the dangerous dance on the verge of the bonfire of death. They put an end to politics, ideas, debate, and ethics; they took us to the edge of the abyss.
For the Government can no longer hide its inability to govern or control the country. Its harmful actions and nefarious administration have been weakening in such a way the institutions, economy and fundamental companies, that the country is dysfunctional, nothing works, chaos rules in a lawless country without rules.
We must stop this madness before it is too late, before we cannot sustain what remains of our country; Maduro ran out of time and is leading us to fascism and foreign intervention, to utter chaos.
Only a Patriotic Government Junta, which includes all national sectors, patriots, that re-establishes the civic-military union, may be able to mobilise all the Venezuelan people and put an end to this disaster, which is neither patriotic nor Bolivarian or Chavista; it is not even good let alone revolutionary, as it has only collapsed the foundations of the country, weakening them as never before; a sad role to be played by thecountry’s malinche, who clings to power and negotiates in any way they can before the devil realizes they have died.