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

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

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

"We can not turn away from it", said Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of the National Assembly who in January declared himself interim president, triggering a power struggle in the oil-rich country of 30 million.

Maduro blames "imperialism" for the country's accumulating woes, and claims the power outage was caused by an electromagnetic attack on the Guri hydroelectric complex, which supplies 80 percent of Venezuela's electricity.

He told reporters he is convening an emergency session of the National Assembly for Monday to declare a "state of alarm" and authorize the delivery of global aid.

The constitution allows the president to declare states of alarm amid catastrophes that "seriously compromise the security of the nation", but does not explicitly say what practical impact such a declaration would have.

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.

Restrictions on imports have affected the provision of spare parts, while many skilled technical personnel have fled the country amid an exodus of more than three million Venezuelans in three years. The deals have drawn scrutiny from the opposition and its allies overseas as Venezuela's economic crisis worsened.

In Washington, National Security Advisor John Bolton suggested members of the military were reconsidering their support for Maduro. US officials have dismissed the allegation as absurd.

Maduro is blaming the USA for the power outage, saying the Americans sabotaged a hydroelectric dam, do Venezuelans buy that? Food rotted in refrigerators, people walked for miles to work with the Caracas subway down, and relatives overseas anxiously waited for updates from family members with telephone and internet signals intermittent.

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On Monday, Venezuelans seeking water formed lines to fill containers from a sewage pipe. "I'm very anxious because the situation is not getting resolved, the little food that we have in the fridge is going to spoil", said Francisca Rojas, a 62-year-old retiree living in Caracas.

Venezuela's electricity network has suffered from years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance.

Most of the key joint ventures between PDVSA and foreign partners in the Orinoco Belt, the country's main crude region, run on their own generators.

He said nearly 70 percent of power had been restored by mid-day, when a "cyberattack" was reported at a major power plant.

For more on this, we have Fernando (How-RAY-GEE) Jauregui, a freelance journalist based in Caracas. who joins us on Skype.

Venezuelans reached new levels of desperation Sunday as the country's worst blackouts took their toll, gathering in larger numbers than usual at springs in the mountains of Caracas to collect water and scrounging for scarce cash to pay for food in the few shops that were open.

"While the promoters of hate, death and violence delight in their destabilization plans, President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a deployment of ministers to ensure the Venezuelan people are attended to", he said. Reuters was unable to independently verify the figure, and the government's Information Ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Electricity experts said that outage was most likely due to failures in the transmission system, and that the government lacks the equipment and staff to fix them.

School and work activities are set to be suspended on Tuesday, the third working day in a row.

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