Caracas, March 9 (IANS) A massive power outage has left most of Venezuela without electricity.
At least 70 per cent of the country still had no power on Friday evening, more than 20 hours after the massive outage, CNN reported.
The blackout stopped mass transit in the capital of Caracas, shutting businesses and gas stations.
State broadcaster VTV reported that some power had been restored but provided no specific numbers or locations.
Miguel Lara, a former electricity executive at Venezuela’s National Electric Corp. told CNN that the outage at Venezuela’s main hydroelectric power station in Guri, Bolivar state, was most likely the result of old equipment and bad maintenance.
“That damage happened because the machines are old,” Lara said. “There are not any spare parts or enough people to upgrade the system.”
But authorities quickly blamed the blackout on anti-government saboteurs. Electricity Minister Luis Motta Dominguez called the blackout an “electricity war” and act of sabotage.
President Nicolas Maduro posted on Twitter: “The electric war announced and led by the American imperialism against our people will be defeated. Nothing and no one can beat the people of Bolivar and Chavez. Maximum unity of the Patriots.”
Blackouts have become a daily occurrence across Venezuela as the economic crisis has worsened, but one of this magnitude was rare.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself the country’s acting president in January, described the blackout as further proof that time was almost up for Maduro.
“Venezuela knows that the light will arrive with the end of the usurpation,” Guaido tweeted on Friday.