Huge Power Outage Leaves Most of Venezuela in Darkness

People cross a street during a power cut in Caracas Venezuela

The mounting political pressure comes as intermittent services returned to Caracas and the states of Miranda and Vargas, home to the country's global airport and main port, following a major electricity outage that began on Thursday afternoon.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said one of his country's eclectic facilities was subjected by high-tech cyber attacks on Saturday. Maduro has blamed the blackout on United States sabotage and shut down offices and schools on Friday.

"This blackout demonstrates the incompetence of the usurper".

Venezuela suffered major blackouts in 2008 and 2013 that affected significant parts of the country, but they were resolved in less than six hours. Mr Maduro wrote on Twitter. "We will defeat them!"

The National Assembly leader is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries who agree that Maduro's re-election was illegitimate.

"We're exhausted of going so many hours without power, we want Maduro to leave", said Maricela Ruiz, 55, holding a sign at a rally in the western city of San Cristobal. "No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro".

Across Venezuela, Friday arrived amid an eerie calm.

Angry residents of the Caracas neighbourhood of Chacao on Sunday set up barricades along a main avenue and on side streets to protest the continued blackout. Police and national guard forces clustered around government ministries.

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"The regime at this hour, days after a blackout without precedent, has no diagnosis", he said at a news conference on Sunday.

Meanwhile, rival rallies were held in Caracas on Saturday. "And it is very clear that the electricity [situation] is a war against the people", said Calderon. "Maduro's administration murders citizens by action and by omission". "They haven't invested in services, hospitals, schools". Video posted on social media showed fire and smoke billowing from the site.

Netblocks, a Europe-based, non-government group based which monitors internet censorship, said online connectivity data indicates the outage is the largest in recent record in Latin America. Families stood under the sun to buy potable water, which is unavailable for most residents whose homes do not have power. "We don't have the replacement parts, the trained personnel".

Numerous more than 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled thus far left with valuable skills- including energy expertise - and the government's allegations of a saboteurs' plot was met with skepticism by many in Caracas. He spoke in a sector of the city that did not have power.

But Thursday, the public utility Corpoelec said the blackout happened because the Guri dam was sabotaged.

The sabotage allegations simply aren't credible, according to Lara.

"The food we had in our refrigerators has spoiled, businesses are closed, there's no communication, not even by cell phone", Ana Cerrato, 49, a merchant, standing in front of a pile of razor wire and debris. Business owners griped over losses that were certain to compound their already bleak economic outlook.

Numerous few shops that were open were only accepting cash because without electricity and the internet they couldn't process debit card payments, a common method of doing transactions in Venezuela since hyperinflation transformed the bolivar into one of the world's most worthless currencies. It had both bread and an intermittently functioning debit-card reader. "That when I flip the light switch, the lights come on". "We feel trapped in a country where every day more and more opportunities close".

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