China yesterday offered to help Venezuela bring its collapsing power grid back online as President Nicolas Maduro sought to stave off rising public anger that is bolstering his US-backed rival Juan Guaido. A vast blackout that struck Venezuela nearly a week ago -- the worst in its history -- has deepened the South American country’s already grave economic crisis, especially by disrupting the supply of drinking water.
Although electricity has since been restored to most of the capital Caracas, water was having to be trucked in, and western swaths of the country remain without power. “No water, no power, no medicine, no cash, no transport. This has been dreadful,” one Caracas resident, Victoria Milano, 40, said. Guaido, an opposition leader whose claim to be Venezuela’s interim president is backed by the US and 50 other countries, told supporters on Tuesday he expected to have military chiefs on his side and take over the presidential palace “very soon.”
“This desperation and darkness is caused by the dictatorship,” Guaido said, alleging that around 20 people had died in hospital because of the power cut. Venezuela’s pro-Maduro prosecutor’s office has hit back with a criminal investigation against Guaido for “sabotage,” alleging he had a hand in the blackout.