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Venezuela Blackout Continues As US Diplomats Prepare To Leave

13 March 2019

The blackout has been ongoing in Venezuela for nearly a week following an incident at a major hydroelectric power plant, Guri, which national electricity supplier Corpoelec called "sabotage". He said that school and work in the country would be suspended for another 48 hours.

Amid continuing unrest in Venezuela, the United States plans to remove all diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter late Monday. Generators have alleviated conditions for some of the critically ill.

"At this point, the electricity supply had been restored nearly completely throughout the whole national territory", Rodriguez said in a broadcast on state television. President Nicolas Maduro blamed the incident on Washington, citing U.S. threats to apply all means against Venezuela. "This is outrageous", added Ferrera, who said she feared many might accept Maduro's version because the blackout had knocked out communication systems across the country, giving his administration a monopoly on information.

Following what many global observers considered a sham election that gave Maduro another six-year term in office, Juan Guaido - leader of Venezuela's congress - declared himself the legitimate leader of the country and has pledged to hold new presidential elections.

"The presence on Venezuelan soil of these officials represents a risk for the peace, unity and stability of the country", the government said in a statement. Guaido tweeted about reports of looting in some cities, but details were hard to confirm. China, Russia, Cuba and other governments, however, have continued to support Maduro.

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The reporter finally followed him for some time and then asked him if he has applied for political asylum. The Home Office have been contacted for comment.

Security forces in the city of Maracaibo dispersed "criminals" trying to take advantage of the power cuts, Mayor Willy Casanova told local media.

Tarek William Saab, Venezuela's chief prosecutor, has said he launched an investigation into Guaido over suspicions he was involved in an attack on the grid. Guaido and the USA blame years of mismanagement and corruption for allowing the once-wealthy country's infrastructure crumble.

Winston Cabas, the head of Venezuela's electrical engineers union, which opposes the government, disputed government allegations that the country's main hydroelectric dam was sabotaged last week. However, many in the U.S. Congress are not.

Maduro's government in January cut ties with the United States over its recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader.

The Treasury Department clamped sanctions on Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a bank jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies for helping PDVSA, the government oil company, evade Washington's restrictions.

Venezuela Blackout Continues As US Diplomats Prepare To Leave