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Venezuela Power Cuts: Blackouts continues as protests weave

Media playback not supported on your device Media script Many of the country, including Caracas, were killed in the dark An extensive power outage affecting much of Venezuela continued throughout the Friday before scheduled protests on Saturday. President Nicolás Maduro and the American backed opposition trying to abolish him have blamed each other for the interruption. The hospitals struggled to cope and at least one hospital patient died when her breathing apparatus stopped working. The power cuts, which started on Thursday, have been caused by problems at a larger hydro power plant. Venezuela is due to its large hydropower infrastructure, instead of its oil reserves, for its domestic electricity supply. But decades of under-investment have damaged the big ponds, and occasional blackouts are common. Some parts of Caracas and the rest of the country have restored their electricity supply and the Venezuelans are now breaking for a weekend of pro and anti-government protests. What happens? On Friday office and school was closed to help efforts to restore electricity, said Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. Some hospitals saw chaotic scenes as relatives attempting to move patients in the dark to other medical facilities with emergency power generators. Image copyright] Getty Images CaptionsMany companies in Caracas closed on Friday In Caracas University Hospital, 25-year-old patient, Marielsi Aray died after her breathing apparatus stopped working. "The doctors tried to help her by pumping manually, they did everything they could but without electricity, what were they going to do?" Her uncle Jose Lugo said. Generators…

Media playback not supported on your device

Media script Many of the country, including Caracas, were killed in the dark

An extensive power outage affecting much of Venezuela continued throughout the Friday before scheduled protests on Saturday.

President Nicolás Maduro and the American backed opposition trying to abolish him have blamed each other for the interruption.

The hospitals struggled to cope and at least one hospital patient died when her breathing apparatus stopped working.

The power cuts, which started on Thursday, have been caused by problems at a larger hydro power plant.

Venezuela is due to its large hydropower infrastructure, instead of its oil reserves, for its domestic electricity supply. But decades of under-investment have damaged the big ponds, and occasional blackouts are common.

Some parts of Caracas and the rest of the country have restored their electricity supply and the Venezuelans are now breaking for a weekend of pro and anti-government protests.

What happens?

On Friday office and school was closed to help efforts to restore electricity, said Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.

Some hospitals saw chaotic scenes as relatives attempting to move patients in the dark to other medical facilities with emergency power generators.

Image copyright
] Getty Images

Captions

Many companies in Caracas closed on Friday

In Caracas University Hospital, 25-year-old patient, Marielsi Aray died after her breathing apparatus stopped working.

“The doctors tried to help her by pumping manually, they did everything they could but without electricity, what were they going to do?” Her uncle Jose Lugo said.

Generators at a children‘s hospital in Caracas failed, with staff reportedly working overnight with their cell phones for light.

“The kids were very scared” Emilse Arellano, whose children’s dialysis would be suspended

Will blackout affect protests?

Mr Maduro has accused the opposition to sabotage, which he described as a “new attack by his father’s enemies,” while his alternate Rodriguez condemned an “imperial electric war”.

Guaidó hit back and urged the Venezuelans to show on Saturday “against the usurping, corrupt and incompetent regime that has set our country in the dark”.

Image copyright
AFP

Captions

Staff in some hospitals were forced to use mobile phones for light

He said blackout was a result of years of under-investment and told a collection that marked International Women’s Day that it could not be normal that “50% of the hospitals in the country do not have an electrical facility”. [1

9659004] Maduro has also demanded a demonstration and tens of thousands of people are expected to participate in the two talks.

But the BBC’s Will Grant in Caracas says that blackout has affected public transport and capital movement and can have an impact on access.

Why do blackouts occur in Venezuela?

Blackouts is nothing new in Venezuela. Critics say they have worsened since the nationalization of the electricity grid in 2007. In 2016, the problem reached such a critical level that the government declared a 60-day nationwide emergency.

Image copyright
Reuters [19659014] Image caption

This is the worst power outage for decades

In an attempt to limit the country’s chronic power shortage, the government has regularly conducted controlled blackouts, where they would turn off the power for up to six hours at a time.

Critics say far from helping this has caused pernicious food to go bad and crime to run together. And when unforeseen blackouts – like the latest – have happened, officials have blamed a number of different external forces, including animals like iguanas entering hydropower.

What is the background to the political crisis?

Maduro took over the presidency when his late mentor Hugo Chavez died in 2013. In recent years, Venezuela has experienced an economic collapse with severe food shortages and inflation reaching at least 800,000% last year.

The Maduro government is increasingly isolated as more and more countries blame the economic crisis, which has led more than three million people to leave Venezuela.

Media playback not supported on your device

Media script Juan Guaidó was greeted by thousands of supporters at his return on Monday

Guaidó, who heads the opposition-led National Assembly, declared interim president on January 23 and has been in the logger head s with President Maduro ever since.

He has been recognized as an interim president of more than 50 countries, but Mr Maduro retains support from his close federal states Russia, Cuba and China among others.

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