Venezuela's latest economic shortage -- drinking water

In order to combat what we are meant to believe is the work of malicious Venezuelan businesses owners hoarding-and-speculating with basic goods and services in order to wage an “economic war” against the regime of Nicolas Maduro — not to mention the murky yet ever-present conspiratorial capitalist forces interfering from abroad — the Venezuelan government announced last month that they would begin rationing water and electricity in order to cope with what they assured residents was merely a temporary problem.

It’s gone about as well as you think it has. Via Bloomberg:

Residents of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, who already struggle to find toilet paper and deodorant, are facing a new shortage — drinking water.

The rationing of tap water amid a drought and a shortage of bottles because of currency controls are forcing people to form long lines at grocery stores and bottle shops as soon as deliveries are made. Truck drivers spend much of their day outside water dispatch centers as they try to meet demand.

“I used to have to wait an hour to refill the truck, but now I have to wait six,” said Carlos Miliani from his truck outside the Alpina dispatch center in eastern Caracas. “More trucks are lining up here because of the shortage of plastic containers and the fact that plants that bottle mineral water have shut down.” …

Regulated prices for bottled water have not been raised since November 2011, industry association Anber said in a May 19 statement. Since then, consumer prices have risen 110 percent, according to central bank data, while the bolivar has lost 87 percent of its value on the black market, according to, a website that tracks the value on the Colombian border.

Some areas of Caracas are only receiving water service three days a week, and when water does flow, the stuff is so contaminated that few residents dare to drink it anyway. Winning.

And while Maduro was most put out last week by yet another alleged shadow plot to assassinate him designed by the right-wing fascists of his political opposition (backed by the United States, of course), he was full of praise for the Obama administration’s for speaking out against the Venezuelan sanctions recently passed by the House:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said passage of legislation to impose sanctions on officials could cause his country to shut down its diplomatic missions in the United States, but he praised the Obama administration’s opposition to the bill and said it has led him to name a new top diplomat in Washington. …

Maduro spoke in response to comments by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, who once again urged the U.S. Senate to vote against the measure. The bill calls for freezing any U.S. assets and denying visas to Venezuelan officials accused of violating human rights during a wave of protests that started in February.

Maduro said that he had read the remarks “with great attention” and said the “leap toward good sense” had led him to name a new top diplomat in Washington.

Even lukewarm praise from Venezuela’s government is remarkable following an avalanche of denunciations. Maduro and his backers, following the path of former President Hugo Chavez, have repeatedly accused Washington of trying to topple him and have blamed the U.S. for stirring up the protests in which at least 42 people have died.

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