Maduro denounces new attack on Venezuela's electricity system

13 March, 2019, 19:02 | Author: Carlos George
  • Venezuela suffers nationwide blackout

"We must attend to this catastrophe immediately".

Guaido and his ally, the United States, say Maduro's allegations that they sabotaged the power system are absurd.

US backed opposition leader Juan Guaido on Sunday addressed a news conference in capital Caracas reiterating his call for the military to stop supporting Maduro.

But Maduro vowed on Sunday he would not back down. He said the "macabre strategy" to make Venezuelans desperate and turn them against each other would fail.

However, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado, speaking to VTV, denied the claims.

With the state powers locked in war and humanitarian agents kept at bay by the military, the people of Venezuela is paying the highest price.

Former mayor and exiled opposition activist Antonio Ledezma on Saturday called on Guaido to seek United Nations intervention in Venezuela by invoking a principle known as "responsibility to protect".

Mr Guaido, who proclaimed himself president of the country of 30 million people in January and says Mr Maduro's May re-election was illegitimate, wants new polls.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton this week put foreign banks "on notice" that they risked U.S. sanctions for hiding Venezuelan assets.

Now Guaido is urging the Venezuelan military to intervene.

He said one reason the security forces have refrained from arresting Guaido "is Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed".

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Caracas Mayor Erika Farias told Venezuela's Telesur television that electric power has been "progressively" restored starting early Sunday after the blackout last Thursday - more than 72 hours ago - affected much of the country.

Guaido dismissed that explanation as "Hollywoodesque".

Critics blame the government for failing to invest in maintaining the power grid.

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.

"They continue to support him and there is no indication that I have seen that they are telling him it's time to bring this to an end", he said, adding: "There could come a point where the Russians reach a conclusion that the regime is really unsalvageable".

"We have the worst services in the world: no light, no water, sometimes no gas". Some Venezuelan hospitals were caring for their most critically ill patients with the help of generators, but many operated without power, raising concerns about vulnerable patients who rely on oxygen concentrators, dialysis machines, and other equipment.

"This has been terrible".

"That disturbed and undid everything we had achieved", he said.

Incidents of looting of shops and supermarkets have also been reported in Caracas over the weekend.

Much of Venezuela, including parts of the capital Caracas, remained without power on Monday for a fifth day, crimping vital oil exports and leaving people struggling to obtain water and food.

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