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venezuela shortage


A massive power cut has plunged Venezuela into darkness, with the capital Caracas among the areas affected.

It is believed at least 18 of Venezuela’s 23 states have lost power.

Information Minister Jorge Rodrigues claimed the power cut was caused by an “electromagnetic attack” and officials were working to restore power.

Earlier this year, Venezuela was hit by a series of power cuts, including one that affected all 23 states and lasted a week, leading to shortages and riots.

Another outage in April plunged large swathes of the country into darkness; however, that lasted hours rather than days.

Sporadic blackouts are common in Venezuela, where the economy has collapsed amid a political crisis.

President Nicolás Maduro and other state officials have in the past blamed “terrorism” and opposition sabotage, often alleging US involvement.

The opposition has said the power cuts are the result of years of corruption and underinvestment.

Image source Anadolu Agency

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Venezuela’s state-owned power company Corpolec earlier reported that a breakdown had only affected parts of Caracas.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and President Nicolás Maduro have been at loggerheads since January, when the former invoked the constitution and declared himself interim president.

Juan Guaidó argued that the elections which had returned Nicolás Maduro to power for a second term in 2018 had not been free and fair.

Since then, more than 50 countries, including the US and most nations in Latin America, have recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

However, Venezuela’s military – a powerful force in the country – and influential allies such as China and Russia have stuck by Nicolás Maduro.

An attempt by Juan Guaidó to get the military to switch allegiance to him failed, and Venezuela remains in limbo with both men claiming to be the legitimate president.

Meanwhile, a severe economic crisis has exacerbated and shortages of food and medicines have grown even more acute.

According to UN figures, 4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015.

The government blames the shortages on US sanctions but the opposition says they are down to years of mismanagement.

Preliminary talks between Juan Guaidó and Nicolás Maduro were held in Oslo in May, but they petered out without an agreement.

However, they resumed earlier this month, with the Norwegian foreign ministry again acting as a mediator.

Coca-Cola has been forced to stop producing soft drinks in Venezuela amid an escalating food and energy shortage.

The company said that sugar suppliers in Venezuela will “temporarily cease operations due to a lack of raw materials”.

The announcement comes after Venezuela’s biggest brewer, Empresas Polar, closed plants due to a barley shortage.

Venezuela’s economy has contracted sharply as oil prices plunge.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said the company would continue producing sugarless drinks such as Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke).

She said: “We are engaging with suppliers, government authorities and our associates to take the necessary actions for a prompt solution.”Coca Cola Venezuela sugar shortage

Sugarcane production has been falling due to price controls and rising production costs, as well as problems in obtaining fertilizer.

As a result, many smaller farmers have turned to other crops that are not price controlled and thus generate higher income.

Venezuela is expected to produce 430,000 tonnes of sugarcane in 2016/17, down from 450,000 tonnes for the previous 12 months, and import 850,000 tonnes of raw and refined sugar, according to USDA figures.

The country’s economic problems have forced many consumers to queue for hours to buy basic foodstuffs.

Venezuela’s economy is expected to shrink by 8% in 2016 after it contracted by 5.8% in 2015.

Its reliance on oil to generate foreign currency and investment has made it a victim of regular recessions.

President Nicolas Maduro has declared a state of emergency in an effort to combat the economic crisis. Critics argue it is an attempt to strengthen his grip on power.

Meanwhile, Bridgestone said on May 23 it was selling its Venezuelan business after six decades in the country.

Bridgestone’s Venezuelan assets will be sold to Grupo Corimon.

Other multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble, Ford and Halliburton have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.