World Media

As blackout eases, Venezuela braces for rival rallies

Mothers and relatives wait outside of an intense care room for babies at a clinic during a power outage in Caracas Venezuela Thursday

Gen. Luis Motta, President Nicolas Maduro's minister of electrical power, said on state television.

The government of Nicolas Maduro denounced a "sabotage" against the main electric power dam in the country, after a massive blackout left Caracas and vast regions of Venezuela in the darkness.

The blackout heightened tension between opposition and government loyalists, who accuse each other of being responsible for the collapse of the power grid.

The putrid odor of rotting flesh hung around the entrance to Caracas' main Bello Monte morgue on Friday where refrigerators had stopped working and anxious relatives gathered outside, waiting to be allowed to bury their dead. "We are in the process of investigation and correcting it all because there are many infiltrators attacking the electrical company from within".

Venezuelans have grown begrudgingly accustomed to power cuts, but nothing like the one that hit during rush hour Thursday evening, sending thousands of people on long nighttime treks in the dark to their homes. On Friday, the University Hospital of Caracas had electricity in only a few areas, including the emergency room and the neonatal ward, thanks to generators.

"I didn't stop receiving patients".

"They always say that", Ramos said.

"The generator worked, but I was anxious it would suddenly stop working". Maduro has blamed the blackout on U.S. sabotage and shut down offices and schools on Friday.

One user posted a video of a nurse manually pumping air into the lungs of an infant.

"We're in a permanent state of alert, which is mentally and emotionally draining", she said.

The entire nation was affected by the blackout.

"Last night was insane", José Luis Mesa, a 49-year-old electrician whose infant grandchild was being treated in the emergency room, told The Washington Post.

A power outage left much of Venezuela in the dark early Thursday evening in what appeared to be one of the largest blackouts yet in a country where

"The entire floor of the house is full of candle wax".

"We're here, we're mobilized, because we're not going to let the gringos take over", said Elbadina Gomez, 76, who works for an activist group linked to the Socialist Party.

"We received another cybernetic attack at noon to one of the generation sources that was working perfectly, but the fresh attack knocked out all that had been achieved by noon", Maduro said during a speech marking the Bolivarian Day of Anti-imperialism.

President Nicolás Maduro's Government has largely ignored Guaidó, apparently hoping the opposition movement will exhaust itself, as previous such efforts have.

Lidia Calderon, 37, joined the rally saying she relies on Maduro to fix the powernet.

Guaido blamed the blackout on government corruption and mismanagement while the Socialist Party claimed it was part of a USA -sponsored plot to force Maduro from power. The National Assembly declared Maduro's presidency vacant in January on grounds his re-election was illegal.

"Once we've finished the tour, the organization in every state, we'll announce the date when all together we'll come to Caracas", said the 35-year-old leader of the legislature, who is recognised as interim president by more than 50 countries, including Ireland.

"We have defeated their coup", said Maduro.

Venezuela, which has the world's largest oil reserves, was plunged into darkness on Thursday evening and many places were still without electricity on Saturday.

He said service would be restored within around three hours.

His critics say his government has mismanaged the power sector since late socialist leader Hugo Chavez nationalized it in 2007 while setting aside billions of dollars for power projects that were swallowed by corruption.