Lights went out across much of Venezuela, including many areas of the capital city of Caracas on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses, less than two weeks after power was restored following a prolonged blackout. The opposition leader was serving as the president of Venezuela's Congress, and said the constitution allowed him to form a transitional government because Maduro had been re-elected in a sham vote previous year. The nongovernmental organization Doctors for Health said 26 people died in public hospitals. But upon returning he has focused most of his energy on sustaining his movement, which has lost some of its momentum, as Maduro remains in power and Venezuelans focus on the hard task of surviving.
"The planes from Russian Federation landed in Venezuela because they were authorized by the only government that there is in Venezuela, and it's called the government of Nicolas Maduro", Cabello said in a speech broadcast on state television.
The United States was quick to condemn what it felt was an encroachment in South America, while Russian Federation downplayed the incident, hinting that it had routine military contracts to fulfill at the time.
Venezuela's electrical infrastructure has suffered from underinvestment, lack of maintenance, a brain drain, as well as U.S. sanctions, which have stopped Caracas from importing spare parts and servicing equipment.
Venezuela's first lady in waiting has helped her husband look more presidential, says Dimitris Pantoulas, a Caracas-based political analyst.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned his counterpart Sergei Lavrov over the phone that "the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russian Federation exacerbates tensions in Venezuela".
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He called for an action that would lead to seizing power in Venezuela after the global media reported that two Russian military planes had landed at the airport in Caracas during the weekend.
Neither state electricity company Corpoelec nor the Venezuelan information ministry responded to requests for comment.
By putting its troops on the ground in Venezuela, Russia is sending a clear message to Washington that the Latin American country is under the Kremlin's protection.
Lavrov said the US intention to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights leads to the violation of global law, impedes the settlement of the Syrian crisis, and aggravates the situation throughout the Middle East.
The U.S. and dozens of other countries recognize Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president, but Maduro has refused to step down and still holds control of the military.
A U.S. official has said a Russian military contingent that arrived in Venezuela over the weekend, drawing United States condemnation, is believed to be made up of special forces including "cyber-security personnel".