Nerves fray, tempers flare as Venezuela blackout hits fourth day


CARACAS– Furious Venezuelans lined up to buy water and fuel yesterday as the country endured a fourth day of a nationwide blackout that has left already-scarce food rotting in shops, homes suffering for lack of water and cell phones without reception. Authorities have managed to provide only patchy access to power since the outage began on Thursday in what President Nicolas Maduro called an act of U.S.-backed sabotage, but critics insist it is the result of incompetence and corruption.

The government  suspended school and business activities for the following day without providing any information on a likely time frame for resolving the situation, leaving many fretting that it could extend indefinitely. The country’s worst-ever power outage comes as Maduro faces a hyperinflationary economic collapse and an unprecedented political crisis. Opposi-tion leader Juan Guaido in January invoked the constitution to assume the presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud. Angry residents of the Caracas neighbourhood of Chacao yesterday set up barricades along a main avenue and on side streets to protest the continued blackout.(Reuters)…[+]