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Venezuela Crisis: Second Stage of Large-Scale Military Drills to Kick off This Weekend

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By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Wednesday that the second stage of the country's military maneuvers would begin this weekend.

The second stage of the large-scale military exercises includes securing the national electric power grids and water supply systems, local media reported.

"This coming weekend, the military drills dubbed Ana Karina Rote are being resumed at their second stage", Rodriguez was quoted as saying as aired by state-run broadcaster on Wednesday. The first stage of the drills, dubbed Angostura, was held in mid-February.

The news comes on the heels of a blackout that has lasted for several days in the Latin American country due to reported sabotage at the major Guri hydroelectric power plant.

Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that local authorities had detained two people on suspicion of attempted wrecking of the country's power system, adding that Washington bore the most responsibility for the disruption of Venezuela's power grid.

The blackout hit crisis-torn Venezuela last Thursday as national electricity supplier Corpoelec reported about "sabotage" at the Guri power plant.

Local media subsequently reported power outages in 21 out of 23 Venezuela's states.

Maduro blamed the United States for waging an energy war against Venezuela. Washington denied having a role in the crisis.

Since January, Venezuela has been facing deep political turmoil. On 5 January, lawmaker Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016.

On 23 January, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's interim president.

Maduro, who was sworn in to his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, called Guaido's move an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

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