Venezuelan schools and businesses closed Tuesday due to the country’s second electrical blackout in a month.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government said the blackout was due to an attack, but National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, recognized by nations that include the United States as Venezuela’s interim president, dismissed that as an excuse that doesn’t address the country’s poor electrical infrastructure.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, electricity had been restored to some parts of Caracas, El Nacional reported.
It is the second major blackout in Venezuela in March, El Nacional reported Tuesday, saying power went out Monday night. The newspaper reported thousands walked in Caracas’ streets amid the confusion while the urban railway system stopped.
There was a blackout on March 7 that lasted more than four days in all 23 states across the country, and longer in some areas. That blackout also left the country without access to the water system as pumps failed without electricity.
“We have deployed, since the very moment of the attacks, all our effort to recover, as soon as possible, the electrical service in all of the national territory,” Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said after the blackout started Monday in El Nacional’s report.
Rodriguez said the latest alleged attack targeted a hydroelectric plant, the Guardian reported.
Earlier in March, Maduro attributed the first blackout to a cyberattack from the United States, specifically from Houston, against the “brain” of the country’s electricity generation system.
“In the middle of the angst of the darkness, when our people need some certainty in the middle of the angst of another blackout, how can they pretend to keep repeating the excuses of ‘electric war’ and sabotage?” Guaido said overnight on Twitter.
“They are lying so as not to assume their responsibility. And besides, they are placing at risk what little is left of the national electrical infrastructure,” Guaido added.
Guaido, an industrial engineer graduate, and other officials previously said a cyberattack would not be possible because the country runs on an analog energy system.
Guaido previously blamed the problems on corruption affecting state maintenance budgets.
Blackouts, while not as severe, have been occurring for several years in the economically troubled country due to reduced maintenance spending. Fuel scarcity is also frequent, news outlets have reported.
Most of Venezuela’s revenue comes from the country’s oil industry, as it produces over 1 million barrels per day. But many fear the electricity failures could disrupt Venezuela’s oil production and shipping, leading to reduced earnings for the cash-strapped Maduro administration.
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