Venezuela hit by major blackout, government blames 'sabotage'

Venezuela hit by major blackout, government blames 'sabotage'

Venezuela hit by major blackout, government blames 'sabotage'

The power cut was believed to have hit up to 23 of the country's 24 states, though with mobile networks and internet largely out of action, the situation in some areas was unclear.

Jorge Jaimes, a doctor who joined opposition protesters on Avenida Victoria in Caracas, said: "This is chaos". Maduro, who succeeded revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013, won last year's presidential election amid accusations of irregularities, suppression of critics and a boycott by much of the opposition.

"They said that the blackout, of over 15 hours, is the result of external sabotage". "We return to the streets and we won't leave until we reach the goal", said the 35-year-old National Assembly leader, who is recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela's interim president.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to respond to acts of "imperial aggression" as the county braces for pro and anti-government protests scheduled on the same day. Like other hospitals, she said the facility was relying on generators but only had enough fuel for another day or two and that she was especially anxious about patients in intensive care.

Clinics in the sweltering western state of Zulia, which suffers chronic regional blackouts, had scaled back operations after almost 72 hours without power.

President Nicolas Maduro blasted the outage as an "electrical war" directed by the United States in a statement on Twitter.

Guaido took to Twitter Tuesday evening to blast Maduro for the outage.

Addressing supporters while standing atop a bridge in Caracas, Guaido - the leader of the opposition-run congress who invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January - said Maduro's government "has no way to solve the electricity crisis that they themselves created".

Marielsi Aray, a patient at the University Hospital suffering from an aggravated infection, died at dawn on Friday after her respirator stopped working, her uncle Jose Lugo said.

Abrams said TPS was under consideration and he would discuss it with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Customers line up at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2019.

"Maduro's policies bring nothing but darkness", he added in a separate message, then, "No food". "No food. No medicine".

"They've attacked the generation and transmission at the Guri (hydroelectric dam), the backbone of the electricity system", said Electricity Minister Luis Motta via state television, without offering evidence. "Now, no power. Next, no Maduro". High-ranking officials have been accused in US court proceedings of looting government money earmarked for the electrical system. The capital's worldwide airport was hit, according to social media posts from would-be travelers.

The government keeps home power bills exceptionally low - just a couple dollars a month - relying heavily on subsidies from the Maduro administration, with is under increasing financial duress. A man anguished that he'd gone 17 hours without hearing from his mother.

Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, said Saturday that the second outage had knocked out nearly all of Venezuela's telecommunications infrastructure.

As night set in, the nationwide outage dragged on and some people in Caracas banged pots and pans - a traditional Latin American method of letting off steam. Business owners griped over losses certain to compound an already bleak economic outlook.

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