Much of Venezuela plunged into darkness Thursday evening, creating chaos as people struggled to navigate their way home amid what appeared to be one of the biggest blackouts yet in a country where power failures have become common.
Commuters took to the sidewalks in Caracas after subway service stopped and a snarl of cars jammed the streets with stoplights out.
State-owned electricity operator Corpoelec blamed the outage on what it called an “attack” on the Guri Dam, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric stations and the cornerstone of Venezuela‘s electrical grid.
“We’ve been targeted again in the power war,” Maj. Gen. Luis Motta, President Nicolas Maduro‘s minister of electrical power, said on state television.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez called the blackout a criminal act by right-wing extremists intent on creating chaos by leaving Venezuelans without power for several days. He said Maduro’s government had defeated the “sabotage” and already restored power in the country’s eastern region.
Pro-government officials frequently blame power outages on Venezuela’s opposition, accusing them of attacking power substations with Molotov cocktails, though they rarely provide any evidence.
— Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) March 7, 2019