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11 Mar 2019 | 02:09 AM UTC

Venezuela: Guaidó calls for protests on March 11 as blackout continues /update 5

Venezuela News Alert

Blackouts continue in Venezuela, affecting healthcare facilities; Juan Guaidó to declare “state of alarm” on March 11 and calls for protests

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/10/2019, 12:30 AM until 3/16/2019, 12:29 AM (America/Caracas). COUNTRY/REGION Northern Venezuela, Caracas

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Nationwide blackouts persisted on Sunday, March 10, with inconsistent service resuming in some areas but multiple reports of deaths emerging attributed to the lack of power at medical facilities. Security forces clashed with protesters on Sunday in La Candelaria neighborhood of Caracas, and barricades and other barriers were reported in various areas of the capital. There are also ongoing reports of looting, shootings, and other instances of violence. Approximately 80 percent of the country remained without access to the internet as of Sunday and, while power was restored to some areas of Caracas, much of the country remains without access to electricity. It is unclear how many deaths have occurred as a result of power outages at hospitals, with a lack of internet and cell service making it difficult to transmit current information out of the country, but unconfirmed reports indicate there have been dozens of fatalities since the blackout began, including babies in neonatal units and patients on life support.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced that he would call for a "state of alarm" during a legislative session on Monday, March 11, which would authorize the delivery of international aid. Guaidó also called for more protests on Monday. Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro announced the closure of schools and businesses for Monday and appealed for calm. These closures are expected to continue if widespread blackouts persist. Public demonstrations in support of Guaidó or Maduro are likely on Monday and in the coming days. A heightened security presence is expected in the vicinity of all such demonstrations and clashes between protesters and security forces, as well as arrests, are likely.


The nationwide blackout, which started on the afternoon of March 7, has caused disruptions to transportation and water distribution systems as well as cut telecommunication services. According to officials, the most recent outage has been linked to a failure at the Guri hydroelectric dam. The government has claimed the outages were caused by an act of "sabotage" by the United States; however, past outages that had been blamed on attacks were later attributed to infrastructural deficiencies.

Venezuela is experiencing an ongoing crisis spurred by President Nicolás Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10 following last year's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state. Guaidó has reportedly coordinated several deliveries of humanitarian aid from neighboring states which have been blocked by the Maduro regime.   


Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to instructions issued by their home governments, keep battery-operated devices fully charged whenever possible, remain vigilant for criminal behavior and avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media, and avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest. In addition, individuals are advised to be cautious when driving or crossing streets if traffic signals are not functional.


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