Millions left without electricity in Venezuela

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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.

Venezuelan opposition protesters have converged on a main avenue in Caracas and other parts of the country, venting their anger over a nationwide blackout, shortages of basic necessities and the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Even by the standards of crisis-weary Venezuelans, the power cut - which began late Thursday - was one of the longest and most widespread in memory, heightening tensions in President Maduro's power struggle with his US-backed rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Trump has said that a "military option" is on the table with regard to Venezuela, but Latin American neighbors have emphatically opposed a United States intervention as a way of addressing the situation.

Another Caracas resident who is diabetic was searching for ice to preserve his limited supply of insulin medication.

Addressing supporters Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro blamed the USA for the blackout, saying the grid had been sabotaged, while the US has attributed the outage to the Maduro regime's "incompetence".

"Except for a few pinpricks of light from the lucky few with generators, Venezuela's capital and home to five million people remained in the dark", Oppmann said. She said the hospital generators had enough fuel for another day or two and that she was especially anxious about patients in intensive care. "And it is very clear that the electricity [situation] is a war against the people", said Calderon. "And of course, there's no water".

Julio Castro, a doctor and member of a non-governmental organization called Doctors For Health, tweeted that a total of 17 people had died during the blackout, including nine deaths in emergency rooms. Advocates were particularly concerned about patients who rely on respirators and the lack of air conditioning in several hospitals, which is needed to keep facilities cool in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Guaido meanwhile reiterated his call for mass protests on Saturday.

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Despite global outcry at Maduro's decision to turn back the aid convoy, Elliott Abrams, U.S. President Donald Trump's special representative for Venezuela, on Friday ruled out the use of force to deliver humanitarian assistance.

In the south of the capital, the opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido rallied his supporters He outlined plans to broaden the geographical base of his movement.

Guaido and Maduro, whose chief backers are Russian Federation and Cuba, planned rival demonstrations as they seek to energize supporters. Mr Maduro wrote on Twitter.

People use light from phones while they walk at the staircase of a building during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela on March 7, 2019.

In another blow to Venezuela's infrastructure, an explosion occurred at a power station in the country's Bolivar state on Saturday, according to local media.

The blackout swept Venezuela on Thursday as national electricity supplier Corpoelec reported about "sabotage" at the major Guri hydroelectric power plant.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said schools and public offices and industries would be closed Monday as the government works to revive the grid, but did not provide an update on progress.

"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. "Sabotage is burning food and medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro". The move is supported by the US and about 50 other countries.

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