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Venezuela’s Maduro announces major energy rationing amid new power outages

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrives at the Houari Boumedien Airport in Algiers for a two-day visit on September 10, 2017. (Billal Bensalem/APP/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that the government will reduce the length of the country’s workday and keep schools closed as it attempts to ration electricity in the face of continued power cuts.

Maduro said in a nationally televised address on March 31 that the 30-day plan will help deal with the power outages that have disrupted water supplies and communications for long stretches of time.

The embattled socialist president also warned against any unrest during the crisis, amid calls by opposition leader Juan Guaido for demonstrations against the government’s inability to provide basic services.

Guaido blamed the blackout on years of government mismanagement and infrastructure neglect.

Maduro has claimed, without evidence, that sabotage by the United States and political opponents has caused the power shortages.

The United States and more than 50 other countries recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Russia, along with China, backs Maduro and has supplied military and financial aid to the South American country.