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Gideon Long in Bogotá

Venezuelans scavenged for food, drank water from mountain streams and looted supermarkets as the biggest power outage in the country’s history stretched into its fifth day on Monday, leaving thousands of homes without electricity.

With no resolution in sight, shops and businesses were closed as Nicolás Maduro’s government ordered people to stay at home. The president blames the rolling nationwide blackouts on US-backed sabotage, describing them as “the worst imperialist attacks on the country in 200 years”.

The opposition says the outages, which began on Thursday and remain widespread, are due to government incompetence and lack of investment in the country’s dilapidated infrastructure.