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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Andean Group - 12 March 2019

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In brief: Venezuela

* Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó, has declared a 30-day “state of national alarm” over the ongoing power blackouts that have been affecting large parts of the country since 7 March. Under the state of national alarm, Guaidó has ordered the armed forces to protect the national electricity generation and transmission lines, and to refrain from repressing any public protests over the blackouts; Venezuelan diplomats to seek international technical assistance to help restore power across the country; and for the state to save all hydrocarbon fuels for the generation of electricity, which includes an order to immediately halt all oil exports to Cuba. Guaidó blames the power outages on the inefficient and corrupt management of the sector by the de facto government led by Nicolás Maduro and has asked the international community to assist his administration in ensuring that no more Venezuelan oil is shipped to Cuba. But the Maduro government says that the outage is the result of an attack on the national electricity grid by its opponents and insists that the service will be normalised “in the next few days”.