UPDATE: Venezuela buckles under massive power, communications outage… Thousands Protest Maduro… China warns over foreign meddling

Venezuela buckles under massive power, communications outage

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s worst power and communications outage on Friday deepened a sense of isolation and decay, endangering hospital patients, forcing schools and businesses to close and cutting people off from their families, friends and the outside world.

While electricity returned to some parts of Caracas nearly 24 hours after lights, phones and the internet stopped working, several other populous cities remained in the dark as evening approached.

“I’m desperate,” said Maria Isabel Garcia, a 39-year-old office worker who hadn’t been able to buy food for her three young children because she wasn’t able to take money out of the bank on Thursday.

The blackout marked another harsh blow to a country paralyzed by turmoil as the power struggle between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido stretches into its second month and economic hardship grows.

Venezuelans have grown begrudgingly accustomed to power cuts, but nothing like the one that hit during rush hour Thursday evening, sending thousands of people on long nighttime treks in the dark to their homes. It reached virtually every part of the oil-rich country of 31 million, which was once Latin America’ wealthiest but is now beset by shortages and hyperinflation projected by the International Monetary Fund to reach a staggering 10 million percent this year, compelling about one-tenth of its population to flee in recent years.

 

Impatience Swells as Venezuelans Protest Maduro in Caracas Again

(Bloomberg) — The fight for the future of Venezuela re-opened Saturday on the streets of its capital, with electricity flickering in-and-out around the country for most of the last three days. Juan Guaido, the challenger to President Nicolas Maduro, brought thousands of supporters to the streets of Caracas, though fewer showed up than in late January after the National Assembly he heads proclaim

Venezuela crippled by power blackout, China warns over foreign meddling

CARACAS, March 8 (Reuters) – Venezuela shut schools and suspended the workday as the worst blackout in decades paralyzed most of the country for a second day on Friday, while China warned Western nations against meddling in the South American country’s domestic affairs.

Power went out across the recession-stricken country on Thursday afternoon due to a problem at Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, the government said, calling the event an act of “sabotage” by ideological adversaries.

While blackouts are routine in many Venezuelan provinces, nationwide power outages under the ruling Socialist Party have never extended for more than a day, despite five years of grueling recession and widespread and severe shortages of basic goods.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who most Western nations recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, criticized the government for bungling the country’s energy supply and said Maduro was the one sabotaging the nation.

“Sabotage is stealing money from Venezuelans. Sabotage is burning food and medicine. Sabotage is stealing elections,” Guaido said on Twitter.

Humanitarian aid trucks went up in flames last month when Maduro deployed troops at the Colombian border to prevent the opposition from bringing in relief supplies.

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