Fresh widespread power outage hits Venezuela

Bogota: Venezuela was hit by a fresh power outage late on Saturday which plunged much of the country into darkness.
There was no electricity in most federal states, the opposition newspaper El Nacional reported.
People took to the streets of the capital Caracas, banging pots and pans in a noisy protest.
It was the fourth major power outage in Venezuela this month, the worst of which left most of the country in the dark for more than 100 hours.
The Caracas government has attributed the blackouts to sabotage by the United States.
The opposition cites a lack of investment in the national grid, poor upkeep and a failure to tackle repairs as factors behind the power outages.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela warned that the administration could impose financial sanctions against Russia if it continues to meddle in Venezuela.
Elliott Abrams said he has already delivered a list of options to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, including diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions, that can be employed against Russia if it continues to send military personnel to (Venezuela capital) Caracas.
“I think it would be a mistake for the Russians to think they have a free hand here. They don’t,” Abrams said.
The Trump administration ratcheted up its warnings on Friday against Russia and other countries who may be considering sending military personnel to Venezuela by calling the action a direct threat to peace and security in the region.
The Russians caught the attention of the United States and regional allies this week after two Russian planes landed in Caracas filled with about 100 Russian soldiers. The move was largely seen as an effort by the Russians to bolster Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro who the United States and other regional allies are trying to pressure to step down. The United States and other countries have recognised Juan Guaido as the interim president.
The Russian government told local media the visit was part of scheduled military cooperation and training exercise. But the United States warned that Moscow was exacerbating tensions and undermining efforts to restore democracy in the South American country.
Pompeo earlier warned that the United States wouldn’t “stand idly by”as Russians sent troops into Venezuela. Trump was even more forceful when asked about the Russian activity during his meeting on Wednesday with Guaido’s wife. “Russia has to get out,” he said. — AFP