#SinLuz: Venezuela’s most active protest hashtag

#SinLuz: Venezuela’s most active protest hashtag

Published on 18 Sep 2023

Power outages continue throughout the country

The crisis in the Venezuelan electricity system is not over, and neither is the use of social media to denounce service deficiencies. The hashtag #SinLuz (without electricity) has been, for years, the favorite of the Venezuelan community to report failures in the electricity system and in recent days the hashtag has once again become the protagonist.

A series of fluctuations within the national electric system strongly positioned #SinLuz as the main trend on Twitter last Wednesday, September 13, amidst the Venezuelan population’s fear of a possible new national blackout.

All this happened while the Venezuelan Ministry of Communication and Information tried to impose the conversation on social media with the hashtag #XiJinpingYMaduro, to highlight the official visit of the Venezuelan president to China.

The phantom of a blackout and the real fear of a recurrence

The fear of a national blackout like the one experienced by Venezuelans in 2019 continues. March of this year marked the fourth anniversary of the first national blackout that left the entire country without electricity service for at least five days, and the electricity crisis, far from being overcome, seems to worsen every day. What happened last Wednesday is an example of this.

On September 13, users in social media reported between 5 and 7 electrical fluctuations in a row that occurred in at least 15 of the 23 states of the country. This not only caused some places to be without electricity service, such as Margarita Island, where 7 hours without electricity were reported, but also telephone and Internet services presented failures. In X (former Twitter) #SinLuz was positioned as a trend with at least 15,600 messages.

For years, the hashtag #SinLuz has been present on Twitter to report power failures in the country. In 2022, this hashtag was positioned at least 17 times as a trend on Twitter to denounce service deficiencies. In fact, this was the second most repeated hashtag in the Venezuelan conversation that year.

For analysts, what happened in the National Electric System is just a sign of the severity of the electric service status, so the fear reported in social media with the hashtag #SinLuz is well-founded.

How serious is the problem?

Currently, Venezuela depends 80% on the hydroelectric generation of Guri and two other plants in Guyana, Bolivar state, due to the insufficiency of thermoelectric plants because of the lack of fuel, a paradox in the oil-producing country.

According to electricity specialist José Aguilar, Venezuela has an electricity deficit of between 500 MW and 1,000 MW. An insufficiency even greater than that of Cuba (947MW).

“At night, the deficit may be greater because it is the highest consumption peak of the whole day”, Aguilar points out.

What happened this Wednesday during the national power fluctuations can be explained by several reasons, according to the specialist. Reports from Corpoelec personnel indicate that a non-localized breakdown occurred along the 765 KV transmission line of 165 kilometers, which transports energy from Guri to the whole country. Added to this is that at this time of the year the maximum annual demand of power and consumption appears and generally lasts until November.

While the trend #SinLuz was gaining strength on X, that same day the account of the State company responsible for the electricity service (Corpoelec) did not provide any information about what happened, although it did publish messages about the change of light bulbs, replicated the publications of Nicolás Maduro and his visit to China and even campaigned for users to report sabotage.

A country #WithoutElectricity with a regime that looks to the moon

While the country was wondering if a national blackout was a possible scenario, President Nicolás Maduro announced from China that among the agreements signed between the two countries was one to train Venezuelans and take them to the moon.

“The sub-commission for scientific, technological, industrial and aerospace cooperation will have as a symbol, sooner rather than later, the arrival of the first man, the first Venezuelan woman, to the moon in a Chinese spacecraft. Yesterday we talked about it with the Chinese aerospace authorities. Very soon, Venezuelan youth will come to prepare themselves as astronauts here in the Chinese school”, said Maduro.

Regarding what was happening in the country with the national failures of the Electric System, neither Nicolás Maduro, nor any official said anything.

Meanwhile, the electric system is one of the worst evaluated services by the Venezuelan population. According to the latest study of the Observatorio Venezolano de los Servicios Públicos (Venezuelan Observatory of Public Services), 54.7% of those surveyed showed their dissatisfaction by stating that the most frequent failure is the so-called “electricity blackouts”.

For more information on socio-political manipulation online you can follow us on all social networks as @ProBoxVE

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