Venezuelans on Monday converged on a polluted river in Caracas to fill water bottles and held scattered protests in several cities as growing chaos took hold in a country whose people have had little power, water and communications for days.
A 3-year-old girl with a brain tumor languished in a Caracas hospital, awaiting treatment after doctors started surgery but then suspended the operation when nationwide power outages first hit on Thursday, said the girl's fearful mother, who only gave her first name, Yalimar.
"The doctors told me that there are no miracles," said Yalimar, who hopes her daughter can be transferred Tuesday to one of the few hospitals in Venezuela that would be able to finish the complex procedure.
The girl's story highlighted an unfolding horror in Venezuela, where years of hardship got abruptly worse after the power grid collapsed.
On Monday, schools and businesses were closed, long lines of cars waited at the few gasoline stations with electricity and hospitals cared for many patients without power. Generators have alleviated conditions for some of the critically ill.
Late Monday, President Nicolas Maduro said on national television that progress had been made in restoring power in Venezuela. He also said two people who were allegedly trying to sabotage power facilities were captured and were providing information to authorities, though he gave no details.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido and his chief ally, the United States, say Maduro's claims that the U.S. sabotaged the power grid with a "cyberattack" are an attempt to divert attention from the government's own failings.