Venezuela flag

The Venezuelan flag hangs among others in the UCF student union.

It's been days since 22 of the 23 Venezuelan states have started suffering through an ongoing blackout.

A hydroelectric power plant started "having major issues" on Thursday, causing Venezuela to suffer "tremendously," according to a NPR article.

This blackout is hitting close to home in Orlando as well.

Sophomore biomedical sciences major Juan Rivero said most of his family members — who are still in Venezuela — are struggling during the power outage.

"My cousin gave birth two hours before the outage in Venezuela," Rivero said. "I'm afraid my cousin might not be able to find supplements for him."

In a Monday press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the dire needs of the Venezuelan people.

"Patients awaiting treatment in hospitals are dying, food is rotting, telecommunication networks are entirely collapsing," Pompeo said.

In several tweets over the weekend, Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro placed the blame for the outage on the United States. 

"We continue to give a strong battle for the liberation of the national electrical system, we have progressively surpassed and protected the system from the attacks that try to prevent the reconnection. With intense work, love and endurance we shall overcome."

Sen. Marco Rubio described in a Tuesday tweet the issues that were hurting the country.

Senior advertising and public relations major Melanie Silva said her family in Venezuela is struggling to keep food from expiring and doesn't even have access to the internet to inform themselves on what is happening in the country.

"I wish there was more I could do to help," Silva said. "My family and I are always trying to send food and clothes and help out where we can." 

Rubio also tweeted that Maduro's military leaders will not help their people because they are getting rich off of "corruption and narcotrafficking."

According to an article by the Associated Press, the United States-supported opposition leader Juan Guaido has said "state corruption and mismanagement that have left the electrical grid in shambles were the cause."

Rivera said he hopes that his people can get access to simple things like food and clean water soon.

"I want my country to be free and prosperous and to overcome this corruption," Rivera said.

Sophomore mechanical engineering major, Samir Rivas said said he left Venezuela the day after he graduated high school and hasn't been back since.

"I am sad for my fellow Venezuelans whose lives have been torn apart," Rivas said.

In February, Maduro refused assistance from the United States by not allowing aid into the country, according to an article by the Associated Press. 

The United States government is now attempting to restore the rule of law and transparency as the humanitarian crisis increases "by the hour," Pompeo said Monday.

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