Venezuela: Maduro blames mass power outage on U.S.

Mar 08, 2019, 5:47 AM EST
Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolás Maduro accused opposition leader of electrical sabotage.
(Source: Archivo Medios Públicos EP/flickr)

Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolás Maduro blasted opposition leader Juan Guaidó and “U.S. imperialists” for a major electricity blackout that plunged most of the South American country in complete darkness for hours on Thursday.

The prolonged power outage comes amid a political tug of war between Maduro and Guaidó, with the U.S. and many other European and Latin American powers backing the latter in his campaign to topple the incumbent government, notes the BBC.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promptly responded to the barb in a tweet, calling the outage a result of “Maduro regime’s incompetence,” writes Al Jazeera. While the Venezuelan regime attempts to paint this huge nationwide failure as a “brutal electrical sabotage” by foreign forces, the poor state of its underfunded hydroelectric infrastructure blows a hole in Maduro’s allegations.

Venezuela is no alien to sporadic blackouts, which have reportedly got worse since the nationalization of the power grid in 2007. At times, the government has itself carried out controlled outages to strike a balance between demand and supply in a country plagued by chronic power shortages.