Venezuela’s government is blaming a nationwide blackout on an “electromagnetic attack” against the nation’s hydroelectric system
Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez read a statement broadcast on social media Monday in which he said authorities were working to restore service as quickly as possible.
He appealed for calm and said contingency plans had been activated so that medical facilities would not be affected. He said security forces were also being deployed to guarantee peoples’ safety.
Authorities attributed an almost week-long outage across Venezuela in March to a U.S.-sponsored electromagnetic attack on the Guri dam, source of around 80% of the nation’s power.
Caracas plunged into darkness
The lights went out in most of Caracas at 4:41 pm (2041 GMT) on Monday while people in other parts of the country took to social media to report the power had gone out there too.
The state-owned power company CORPOELEC only reported a breakdown affecting sectors of Caracas.
The capital was hit by huge traffic jams due to the traffic lights losing power while the sidewalks were full of pedestrians walking home as the metro had stopped running.
An even bigger power outage in March affected all 23 states in Venezuela and lasted a week, paralysing basic services such as the water supply and forcing the working day and school classes to be suspended.
Government blames terrorists
President Nicolas Maduro had blamed unnamed “terrorists” for that near-nationwide blackout, claiming they had attacked the Guri hydroelectric plant in the south of the country that supplies power to 80 percent of Venezuela’s 30 million inhabitants.
Another huge outage in April left large parts of the country, including Caracas, in darkness, although it lasted hours rather than days.
Blackouts are a common occurrence in Venezuela, especially in remote western regions.
The government usually blames them on sabotage while his opponents say that a lack of investment, poor management and corruption are the more likely culprits.