Energy | World | Science

Lights Out In Venezuela; President Blames Opposition Saboteurs

NPR | Sept. 4, 2013 2:57 p.m.

Contributed By:

Scott Neuman

A fan looks at his laptop as he waits for play to resume at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game, during a power outage, in Caracas,Venezuela, on Tuesday.

A fan looks at his laptop as he waits for play to resume at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game, during a power outage, in Caracas,Venezuela, on Tuesday.

Ariana Cubillos, Associated Press

Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro said a massive power outage that plunged most of the country into darkness on Tuesday, causing traffic chaos in the bustling capital of Caracas, was due to sabotage.

Officials said 70 percent of the country was without electricity, shutting down traffic lights and partially disrupting the underground transport system.

Speaking on state television, which was apparently unaffected by the cut, Maduro blamed the opposition for “sabotage” and said the power cuts were “part of a low-level war” conducted by “twisted and desperate minds.”

However, the BBC quotes opposition leader Henrique Capriles as saying the government was trying to divert attention for its own failures.

The Venezuelan official in charge of the nation’s electricity system, Jesse Chacon, said on state television that the failure was in the “backbone” that carries electricity from the Bajo Caroni region, where 60 percent of Venezuela’s power is generated, according to The Associated Press.

Power that was lost at midday was restored in Caracas by nightfall the AP says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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