Venezuelan capital hit by 80 percent power cut: government

July 31, 2018 9:19 pm
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The lights have gone out on four-fifths of Venezuela’s capital Caracas © AFP/File / GEORGE CASTELLANOS

, Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 31 – A power failure cut electricity to 80 percent of the Venezuelan capital Caracas Tuesday, provoking transport and communications chaos, authorities said.

Electricity minister Luis Motta said the government was “working on restoring the service.”

The power outage sparked traffic jams in the capital where both the metro and traffic lights were affected.

The Maiquetia airport serving Caracas was also impacted.

“We were stuck in immigration for around 40 minutes. There was no telephone signal or internet,” Estefania Freire, who was waiting to take an international flight, told AFP.

Power cuts are a regular occurrence in crisis-hit Venezuela, in particular in the rural interior. In the western oil-rich region of Zulia, electricity is rationed with blackouts sometimes lasting up to 12 hours.

Venezuela has faced food and medicine shortages resulting from a prolonged economic and political crisis, as well as the breakdown of many public services, such as electricity, water and transport.

The government of Nicolas Maduro blames the electricity problems on opposition “sabotage,” claiming it’s a political tactic to try to stir public discontent.

Anti-Maduro protests have been widespread and the government’s violent crackdown has prompted international condemnation. Last year, around 125 people were killed in clashes with security forces.

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