Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

Venezuela Rations Electricity Amid Energy Crisis

Venezuela shut down for a week as its government struggles with a deepening electricity crisis. President Nicolas Maduro gave everyone an additional three days off work this week, extending the two-day Easter holiday.  The ruling socialists have blamed the shortage on the El Nino weather phenomenon and “sabotage” by their political foes, while critics cite a lack of maintenance and poor planning.

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    Residents walk in a street under improvised electrical wiring in a Caracas slum regularly subject to state-mandated electricity rationing. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    A view of the Caracas cityscape at dusk on Tuesday, March 22. Several government buildings have their lights off, including (from left to right): the headquarters of the Bank of Venezuela, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Assembly offices, the twin towers of the Simon Bolivar center, which house such government offices as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Environment, and National Electoral Council. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    People line up to withdraw cash from an automated teller machine (ATM) belonging to the government bank, Banco de Venezuela, in Caracas on March 22. With many shops having no electricity, credit- or debit-card purchases are often not possible. 

    Photographer: Wilfredo Riera/Bloomberg

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    The Cuartel de la Montaña, where the tomb of late Socialist President Hugo Chavez is located, is partially illuminated in Caracas. The lights below are from cinderblock homes in the 23 de Enero slum, a longtime Chavez stronghold.

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Water trucks line up in Caracas to seek water on mountainous El Ávila National Park.  Last week, the energy minister warned that water levels at the Guri Dam, one of the country’s principal sources of power, had reached critical levels.

    Photographer: Wilfredo Riera/Bloomberg

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    An electrical substation in Caracas run by Corpoelec, the state power corporation of Venezuela. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Posters of Chavez and President Nicholas Maduro hang next to an electrical meter outside a home in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas.

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Jose Sanchez, 56, shows a journalist the battery-operated headlamp he bought so he can see in his home when the electricity is shut off during rationing periods in Maracay, Venezuela.  

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Nadia Rodriguez, 54, lights candles inside her home in Maracay's Caña de Azucar neighborhood. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Without electricity to power a computer, Yessika Carrera, 27, keeps a handwritten inventory of all the items she sells at the state-run gas station and convenience store at which she works in Caracas. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    Candles for sale at a shop in central Caracas. Workers at the store say sales have significantly increased this week as consumers stock up for both electricity rationing and Holy Week religious festivities. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    People collect free drinking water at the Avila mountain ridge to counter water rationing and a shortage  of bottled water in Caracas.

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

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    People walk down a dark street, holding candles as they pass closed shops and offices during a Catholic Holy Week procession in Caracas on Wednesday, March 23. 

    Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg