Venezuela (MNN) — The straw that broke the camel’s back is an idiom used to describe something trivial that results in an extreme reaction or failure. Although the item or event itself is small, it becomes a catalyst when added to an increasingly-problematic situation.
A nationwide power outage appears to be the straw that broke Venezuela’s back.
The Guri hydropower plant shut down on Thursday evening, plunging 80-percent of the country into darkness. While Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro immediately blamed U.S. interference, experts tell the New York Times this massive outage is likely the result of mechanical neglect.
Whatever the cause, society – at least in Venezuela’s capital city, Caracas – is at its breaking point. At least 17 people have died as a result of the blackout. BBC News describes further medical failures due to the power outage and sporadic looting.
TWR’s Steve Shantz says the blackout is a devastating blow to an already-crippled nation. “It’s heart wrenching, really, when you think about an entire country and all the people involved in this crisis,” he states.
“If the government is unable to restart the turbines, then I can see this crisis [continuing] for some time. That takes very critical engineering skills, and…many of those people (engineers) are gone.”
Nonetheless, the Venezuela crisis cannot stop their team from proclaiming the hope of Christ.
Broadcasting hope from darkness
Daily life is a struggle but TWR’s staff keeps on working, thanks to a generator installed during the last round of power outages. “They’re one of the lucky ones,” Shantz says. “They have a generator and can [create] enough power so production can continue.”
Unfortunately, Venezuelan listeners can’t access the programs because no electricity means no radio. Batteries are either too expensive or unavailable. However, the Venezuelan team’s perseverance is blessing Spanish speakers throughout Latin America.
“We use the broadcasts produced by Venezuela on many outlets, so there are people around the region listening to those programs.”
The team also shares Christ’s hope with Venezuelan kids through rallies that feature food, puppets, and Bible stories. Learn more here.
“These rallies are continuing but I imagine right now, with all the chaos that’s in the country, they’ve probably scaled that back for the time being,” Shantz explains.
In November, the UN reported an exodus of three million Venezuelan migrants and refugees into neighboring nations and beyond. Many of them left their children behind. As stated here, at least 600,000 children and teenagers were left in Venezuela when one or both parents moved to other countries for economic betterment. TWR’s Pedrito el Pulpo (Little Peter the Octopus) program gives these “forgotten kids” a reason to hope.
The Venezuela crisis will continue as long as the battle between political leaders drags on. Juan Guaidó is recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by more than 50 nations, but Maduro refuses to relinquish power.
A blockade stops any outside aid from entering the country, but it’s no barrier to prayer.
“In a situation like this, the only thing we can do is go to the Lord and ask Him to intervene.”
Ask the Lord to influence leaders and decision-makers so that problems may cease and help can reach the people who need it. Praise God for TWR staff’s perseverance, and pray that He will continue meeting their needs.
Header image is a stock photo obtained via Pexels.