Despite the stench emanating from the river Guaire, the crowd rushes to retrieve water from a pipe that pours out in dripping on the wall of cement. With the power failure that drags on, to find water in Caracas has become an obsession.
In their haste, some have slid down the wall and landed in the polluted waters, and the black of the river, as Keisy Perez, 23 years old, mother of two children. In this popular area of San Agustin, in Caracas, they are hundreds to try to the full with what they have on hand: bottles, buckets, cans…
The water in this pipe, which slides along the riverbank in the cement of the river, is to look more clear and come from a source.
“We came to get some water and I fell (in the river Guaire), I almost spend!”, loose Keisy, exasperated after four days without electricity, without water or food available. “They’re waiting for you to die?”, request-t-it.
On the second day of the outage, which began on Thursday evening, people came from the urban motorway that crosses the city. Each day, a little more of the world came to source, and then the soldiers are deployed to order them from.
Enervées by this ban, some 300 people blocked on Monday the road traffic, which is essential in this metropolis of 5 million inhabitants. “They don’t let us take water,” yells Carlos, who lives in the popular district of Hornos de Cal and accuses the government of Nicolas Maduro of trying to hide a daily more and more cruel.
– Nothing to drink! –
“We thirst!” shouts the crowd to the uniform. “We want water for our kids!”
“There was no water and nothing to drink,” said the AFP Marcel Galindez, 29 years old, filling up a canister of 20 litres, thanks to a leak in the upper part of the pipe overhanging. “Will the boil”, he said resigned. Beside him, a young girl has washed her hair in the brown water that she had retrieved.
A woman comes in with her bag of dirty clothes to do his laundry in one of the ornamental fountains of the park Los Caobos, green lung in the heart of Caracas, where hundreds of other people come to fill their bottles and buckets of murky water.
“We can handle it… tomorrow I go back to wash the sheets and towels in the fountain,” said the woman – who refuses to give his name.
In the north of the capital, they are hundreds to wait in indian file, at the foot of the Avila mountain, which separates the city from the sea, to collect the trickles of water that flow down the wooded slopes.
Shot and killed by the tumult around it, people running in all directions to find water, Yulimar, mother of three children ages 6, 11 and 17 years old, sobbing.
Since the beginning of the failure, that the government of Maduro has attributed to an attack by the Americans, she has exhausted what she had water and food. “I have nothing more to give to eat to my children.”
– All victims –
On Saturday, the socialist government has announced an emergency plan to distribute something to eat and drink in the poorest neighborhoods, and the distributions began on Monday. But Keisy notes that, in a month, she has not received a single package from the “CLAPS”, the committees of supply popular that distribute normally, cartons of commodities will be funded.
The government says distribution of all of the 21 days to 6 million families.
“Maduro speaks, speaks, but we see nothing. You are hungry, here, no one gets anything, or the chavistes, nor the opponents,” says the young mother.
Yulimar acknowledges that the situation is “more difficult” but wants to excuse the president Maduro. “Despite everything, I still chaviste. This man is not bad”.
But this power outage leaves her without a voice. “It makes me want to cry.”
For the past three years, Venezuela is sinking into the worst crisis of its recent history, in the face of inflation (10 million % in 2019 is estimated by the IMF), shortages of food and medicine, the cuts of water, gas and electricity.
“This is madness, people are desperate,” sighed Eduardo Escalona, 43 years old, looking at the crowd at the assault of the water.