Demonstrators hit the streets in Venezuela as blackout eases

Demonstrators hit the streets in Venezuela as blackout eases

Demonstrators hit the streets in Venezuela as blackout eases

Maduro, who took over as president in 2013 and was re-elected past year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent, blames the crisis on a USA -backed sabotage campaign. "This is the fault of the government".

Venezuela's nationwide blackout left large areas of the country in chaos on Friday, crippling day-to-day functioning of hospitals and other public services.

The power outage began just as commuters were leaving work.

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"This is an attack (on) the government, this is an attack (on) the people and there are communities that in less than 15 minutes had already gone out to protest and close streets", Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, demonstrators at the pro-Maduro rally danced and waved flags on what organisers labelled a "day of anti-imperialism" in a show of defiance towards the United States, which has imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to oust the president. "We're continuing the battle and victory over the permanent and brutal aggression against our people", Maduro wrote on Twitter. Sabotage activities at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, which left most of Venezuela without electricity for almost 24 hours, is one of the biggest acts of aggression in the country's history, Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez told the national television.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot back saying only Maduro was to blame.

With normally hyper-active social media eerily silent, residents threw open their windows and banged pots and pans in the darkness, shouting expletives at Maduro in a sign of mounting frustration. Sabotage is burning food and medicine. "Now, no power. Next, no Maduro".

He scoffed at Guaido's claim in late January to be interim president of Venezuela, a declaration supported by the United States and about 50 other countries.

"The doctors tried to help her by pumping manually". A man anguished that he'd gone 17 hours without hearing from his mother.

The power cuts, which started on Thursday, have reportedly been caused by problems at a major hydroelectric plant.

Another health advocacy group, CODEVIDA, reported that thousands of dialysis patients were going without treatment as a result of the outage.

Hospitals had reported awful problems and those with generators were using them only in emergencies. "The blackout forced hospital nurses to monitor patients, including premature babies in incubators, while holding candles". The country's electric energy minister, for his part, said that "deliberate sabotage" on behalf of the US-backed opposition was the reason.

Colombia-Based Guardian journalist Joe Parkin Daniels tweeted about the "heartbreaking" situation while cardiovascular technician Zaida Rodriguez asked: "How is it possible for an oil country like ours to be without an emergency backup in place for these types of situations?"

Venezuela's electrical system was once the envy of Latin America but it has fallen into disrepair after years of poor maintenance and mismanagement.

Washington this week revoked the US visas of senior Venezuelan officials and said on Wednesday it had identified efforts by Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money.

Power supply was gradually being restored to large areas of Caracas on Friday afternoon, as well as parts of Miranda state and Vargas, which contains the country's global airport and main port. The capital Caracas, usually spared electrical cuts, was struck at the peak of rush hour.

The blackout occurred as Maduro and Guaido continue a power struggle. In recent years Venezuela has experienced an economic collapse, with severe food shortages and inflation reaching at least 800,000% last year.

"United Venezuelans will win".

"Not a president, not anything", said Maduro, who accused Guaido and his US allies of sabotaging Venezuela's Guri Dam, one of the world's largest hydroelectric stations and the cornerstone of Venezuela's electrical grid.

Electricity is being gradually restored across Venezuela.

"What's the intention?" he said.

Authorities quickly blamed the outage on anti-government saboteurs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Maduro is wrong to blame the USA or any other country for Venezuela's woes.

Rubio, who has been driving the Trump administration's confrontational stance toward Maduro, seemed to relish Rodriguez's accusations that he was somehow to blame for the power crisis.

"My apologies to people of Venezuela". "I must have pressed the wrong thing on the "electronic attack" app I downloaded from Apple". A snarl of cars jammed the streets amid confusion generated by blackened stoplights.

Caracas and a number of other Venezuela's cities were plunged into darkness on Thursday.

"Flight! Flight! Flight!" they cried out.

Venezuelans are wearily accustomed to blackouts.

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