Venezuela enters fourth day of blackout, Maduro blames U.S.

Power outage in Venezuela enters 4th day

On Thursday evening, Caracas and most Venezuelan states were left without electricity.

Although sporadic electricity supplies returned to Caracas and other cities yesterday, millions of Venezuelans were still without power after more than 60 hours, the longest blackout in the country's modern history.

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a nationwide march on Caracas to crank up the pressure on embattled President Nicolas Maduro, as the country endured its third night largely without power. Maduro on Sunday tweeted that "multiple cyberattacks" caused the blackouts and disrupted efforts to fix the national grid. He says he hopes power can be restored in coming hours.

Tensions flared when opposition leader Guaido declared himself acting president on January 23 - a move supported by the US and many European and Latin American countries.

Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela's legitimate leader by the United States and most Western countries, but Maduro retains control of the armed forces and state institutions, and the backing of Russian Federation and China, among others.

According to Maduro, whose authority is being challenged by opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaidó, his government had managed to restore about 70% of electricity on Saturday when "we received at midday another cyber attack at one of the generators that was working perfectly and that disturbed and undid everything we had achieved".

The blackout is one of the worst and longest in recent memory in Venezuela, which is already suffering from shortages of food and medicine due to the overarching economic crisis.

Food has rotted in refrigerators, hospitals have struggled to keep equipment operating, and people have clustered on the streets of Caracas to pick up patchy telephone signals to reach relatives overseas.

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"What can you do without electricity?" said Leonel Gutierrez, a 47-year-old systems technician, as he carried his six-month-old daughter on his way to buy groceries.

People push a vehicle without gas to one of the few fuel stations that has its own electric generator during an electricity blackout in Caracas.

Local hospitals are running on generators. Many were asking customers to pay in USA dollar bills, since debit card payment systems were not working reliably and local bolivar notes have been scarce for years.

Asked whether India had agreed to stop buying oil from Maduro's government, Abrams said: "I don't want to characterize the discussions, which continue". Venezuelan news reports devastation at hospitals and patients dying from lack of resources.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, rival rallies were held in Caracas on Saturday. While there had not been any official explanations as to the real reason behind this power outage, the people are pointing to the rot at the nation's top corridors.

A woman and a child take pictures of a damaged power substation of state-owned electricty company Corpoelec in Caracas, where explosions of unknown cause took place early on March 11, 2019.

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