In an impoverished hilltop neighborhood, a dense labyrinth of narrow alleys, mostly shuttered shops and cinder-block homes, residents trudge toward a protruding pipe discharging a trickle of murky water. Someone has switched on a pump to start the uphill flow to the area, where power blackouts and low pressure make running water a luxury.

People soon gather lugging their plastic pails and jugs. The source is irregular, the quality substandard, and yet the residents here in this northern stretch of Caracas’ gritty Petare district still line up for the dubious privilege. “Lines, lines, lines,” lamented Anjelica Aguilera, 29, who waited for her pail to fill from the dripping pipe. She was among a dozen or so waiting. “We are all sick of lines!” READ MORE