70% of Venezuela Goes Dark
President Nicolas Maduro blames saboteurs
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2013 2:40 AM CDT
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, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(Newser) – Activity in Venezuela effectively ground to a halt yesterday, as a blackout plunged 70% of the country into darkness just after noon. Parts of the capital, which the AP reports normally escapes such outages, were affected, rendering traffic lights dark and forcing companies to send thousands of workers home. The country's president got on TV and Twitter and heaped blame upon the opposition, using the word "sabotage" (a word not backed up by any examples). "Everything seems to indicate that the extreme right has resumed its plan for an electrical strike against the country," Nicolas Maduro tweeted.

But his own deputy electrical energy minister had a less underhanded explanation, reports the BBC: He said one of the country's main transmission lines failed. Caracas had power again by nightfall, though the Wall Street Journal somewhat amusingly notes that one of the buildings that lost power was the Energy Ministry. The Journal calls the country's unstable power grid "a thorn in the side of [the] energy-rich" country.

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Sep 4, 2013 8:40 AM CDT
The biggest sabotage done against the electric industry was the work of Chavez`s brother who during the couple of years he directed the national power company we saw the worst blackouts in decades and insane overcomsumption fines that almost closed bussines and ridiculous rationing schedules, the guy was removed from his postion for a reason shortly after Maduro assumed and there still a lot of things to fix
Sep 4, 2013 8:22 AM CDT
Just a taste of what will be happening in America in the not too distant future. Our national electric grids are out of date and hanging on with spit and bubble gum. Stock up on flashlights and batteries.
Sep 4, 2013 7:19 AM CDT
Blame sabotage so that the simple folk don't realize how inadequate their elected government is. Brilliant. Maduro can keep playing a fiddle while Venezuela crumbles around him and of course it will be someone else's fault.