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Venezuela blackouts: 'We can't go on living like this'

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)About the only thing that can be counted on around the clock at Gustavo Diaz's home these days is the gas stove.

The food in the fridge is spoiling. The microwave oven sits unused. The television is dark and the stereo system silent. It's sweaty and uncomfortable inside, thanks to government-imposed electricity blackouts meant to deal with chronic power shortages across the country.

Even getting running water is a problem.

"We can't go on living like this," he said. "We Venezuelan people deserve much better."

Power outages are nothing new for Venezuelans, including Diaz, who lives with his wife and three daughters in a Caracas suburb. But with the government's recent announcement of a formal rolling blackout program set to last at least 40 days, things have only gotten worse, he said.

And the country's woes don't look like they will be solved any time soon. Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz announced Tuesday that there will be three days per week of mandatory leave for all nonessential public workers until further notice -- a two-day work week for thousands of civil servants.

"We've had rolling blackouts since last month. We used to lose power two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon, but now it's four hours straight," Diaz said.

Opposition blames corruption, mismanagement

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials blame the El Niño weather pattern and epic drought for the problem. The water level at the Guri hydroelectric dam, which provides 75% of Venezuela's electricity, is at a record low.

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/26/americas/venezuela-blackouts/index.html

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