15 dialysis patients die in Venezuela's blackout: NGO

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One reason the security forces have refrained from arresting Guaido, he said, "is Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed".

Although sporadic electricity supplies returned to Caracas and other cities yesterday, millions of Venezuelans were still without power after more than 60 hours, the longest blackout in the country's modern history.

There are no signs that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is open to negotiations to end the political impasse with opposition leader Juan Guaido, Washington's envoy for Venezuela said.

State television on Monday confirmed the incident, which it said left no injuries.

Some 56 countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim head of state, but Maduro retains the backing of Russian Federation and China as well as control of state institutions including the military.

Trump has said that a "military option" is on the table with regard to Venezuela, but Latin American neighbours have emphatically opposed a USA intervention as a way of addressing the situation. Maduro had driven Venezuela "into absolute suffering and collapse" and urged the Venezuelan military to turn against him.

"We must attend to this catastrophe immediately".

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton this week put foreign banks "on notice" that they risked U.S. sanctions for hiding Venezuelan assets.

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Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: "No food". Food rotted in refrigerators, people walked for miles to work with the Caracas subway down, and relatives overseas anxiously waited for updates from family members with telephone and internet signals intermittent. On Monday, people formed lines to fill containers with water from the streams cascading down the mountain overlooking Caracas.

Ms Francisca Rojas, a 62-year-old retiree living in Caracas, said: "I've spent three nights in a lot of distress". "The government doesn't want to accept that this is their fault because they haven't carried out any maintenance in years".

Experts, however, say the blackout is nearly certainly due to years of underinvestment in the power grid. However, he said more than 90 percent of generators that were part of a government contingency plan successfully provided power to Venezuelan hospitals, ensuring there were no major problems for seriously ill patients.

He said nearly 70 percent of power had been restored by mid-day, when a "cyberattack" was reported at a major power plant. He said the government was rationing electricity.

"We say [India] should not be helping this regime".

"We once had the best electricity system in the world - the most vigorous, the most robust, the most powerful - and those who now administer the system have destroyed it", he said.

Also Monday, Spain's airline pilots union asked for Spanish airline Air Europa to stop flying to Venezuela after one of its crews was attacked at gunpoint in Caracas. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Theelectricitydisruption hitVenezuelaon Thursday, with nationalelectricitysupplier Corpoelec alleging "sabotage" at the Guri hydroelectric power plant.

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