CARACAS, VENEZUELA (MARCH 11, 2019) (REUTERS) – Power remained patchy on Monday (March 11), in most of the country after a blackout on Thursday that the government of President Nicolas Maduro claimed was a U.S.-backed act of “sabotage” on the country’s principal hydroelectric dam.
His critics insist it is the result of more than a decade of corruption and mismanagement.
Authorities have given few explanations about why the blackout occurred and how long it might take to resolve, spurring fears it could be indefinite.
Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was fraudulent. He has been recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by the United States and most Western countries.
Several Caracas residents bitterly complained about a lack of services in general, including water.
The blackout, which began last Thursday afternoon, increased frustration among Venezuelans already suffering widespread food and medicine shortages, as the once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economy suffers a hyperinflationary collapse. Food rotted in refrigerators, people walked for miles to work with the Caracas subway down, and relatives abroad anxiously waited for updates from family members with telephone and internet signals intermittent.
The outage is by far the longest in decades. In 2013, Caracas and 17 of the country’s 23 states were hit by a six-hour blackout, while in 2018 eight states suffered a 10-hour power outage, government officials said at the time.