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Venezuela's Maduro announces 30-day electricity rationing

Maduro said the electricity rationing should also help water scarcity as the country's water pumps have failed during blackouts.

By Danielle Haynes
Venezuela's Maduro announces 30-day electricity rationing
People collect water at the El Avila National Park in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday. Maduro said the electricity rationing should also help water scarcity as the country's water pumps have failed during blackouts. Photo by Miguel Gutiérrez/EPA-EFE

April 1 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday a 30-day ration on electricity after weeks of power outages in the beleaguered country.

Under the plan, schools would stay closed and officials will cut the length of the workday. Maduro said the plan also would make sure Venezuelans receive water.

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"I have approved a 30-day plan moving towards a schedule that would administrate the stabilization of the generation process, the secure transmission processes, and the processes of service and consumption in the entire country. Specially emphasizing on guaranteeing water service for our people, an essential element," he announced during a televised speech.

The announcement came less than a week after Venezuela's second electrical blackout in a month. The Maduro regime blamed the blackout on an attack, but National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaido -- recognized by the United States as the country's interim president -- blamed poor electrical infrastructure.

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A blackout on March 7 lasted for more than four days in all 23 states across the country, and longer in some areas. That blackout also left the country without access to the water system as pumps failed without electricity.

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Guaido called for protests in response to Maduro's rationing plan.

"We'll see each other in the streets tomorrow," Guaido said on Twitter. "We will not hide from the dictator."

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Blackouts, while not as severe, have been occurring for several years in the economically troubled country due to reduced maintenance spending. Fuel scarcity is also frequent.

Most of Venezuela's revenue comes from the country's oil industry, as it produces more than 1 million barrels per day. But many fear the electricity failures could disrupt Venezuela's oil production and shipping, leading to reduced earnings for the cash-strapped Maduro administration.

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