As blackout eases, Venezuela braces for rival rallies

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"Venezuela is clear that the light will return with the end of usurpation".

Adriana Bellorin, a lawyer who went out to buy food Thursday evening, said it was futile.

Venezuelan opposition protesters on Saturday 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. Nothing and no one can defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez.

Venezuelan police block a crowd of people who gather to march against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Venezuela was abruptly thrust into total darkness Thursday night as power grids failed across the troubled country, with a crippling blackout impacting 22 out of the nation's 23 states including the capital Caracas.

Venezuelans struggling to put food on the table anxious that the few items in their fridges would spoil. Venezuelans with chronic conditions liked diabetes searched for ice to preserve their limited supplies of medicines.

At the pro-government rally, people danced and waved flags on what organizers labeled a "day of anti-imperialism" in a show of defiance toward the United States, which has imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to oust Maduro.

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.

"This is chaos", said Jorge Jaimes, a physician frustrated with the decline of a country that was once the wealthiest in Latin America.

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Après un voyage en Afrique de l'Est la semaine prochaine - lors duquel il participera à une réunion du ... Planet à -, devrait rendre Corse, en début et les de Loire, qu'il à l'Élysée des Hauts-de-France, région qu'il visitée novembre le de fin la Première mondiale.

"We are tired. Exhausted", said Estefania Pacheco, a sales executive forced to walk 12 kilometers (7 miles) from her office in eastern Caracas to her home across town. There were reports of life support machines and other essential medical equipment failing at hospitals without back-up generators.

He accused Russian Federation and Cuba of shielding Maduro, who Abrams said was protected by "thousands and thousands" of Cuban military and intelligence officials while Moscow has supplied tens of millions of dollars to the government. 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.

Maduro is struggling in the face of a challenge by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself to be interim president and is now backed by some 50 countries led by the United States.

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

Mr Maduro accused the opposition of sabotage while his deputy, Ms Rodriguez, condemned what she called an "imperial electrical war". "Patriots, unite!" Maduro wrote on Twitter.

Large lines formed at the few gas stations open as people fetched fuel for generators.

In Caracas, state television and social media users reported that power had returned to some neighbourhoods on Friday, though much of the city remained without service. Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez described it as a "cyber" attack meant to derail the whole system.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA".

"Maduro's policies bring nothing but darkness", he added in a separate message, then, "No food".