At least 16 states across Venezuela experienced another round of blackouts on Monday amid the continued collapse of the country’s core infrastructure. The Maduro regime blamed them on a supposed “electromagnetic attack” carried out by the United States.
The blackouts, which started at 16:45 local time, hit 16 out of the country’s 23 states, wreaking havoc across all the affected areas. Traffic in the capital Caracas was forced into a massive deadlock as traffic lights lost power and all the country’s public services were shut down as the regime urged people to stay home.
Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez declared the cause of the blackout an “electromagnetic attack” that “sought to affect the hydroelectric generation system of Guayana.” In an official statement, the regime claimed they had put in place emergency protocols that allowed them to “restore electricity in the shortest possible time.” Yet by Tuesday morning, authorities had re-established power to just seven of the nine affected states.
“These blackouts are catastrophic,” 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra told Reuters news agency. “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day. Each day things are worse.”
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) July 23, 2019
Senior regime official Diosdado Cabello directly blamed the attack on the United States after an “unidentified spy plane with electronic equipment flew Venezuela across in a furtive way” before being harassed and forced to vacate by the Venezuelan military.
“This attack was executed by the U.S. government, looking for an incident that will escalate to justify their aggression against our country,” said Cabello. “If they knew they were authorized by international standards, why did they leave? Because they knew they violated international agreements.”
Ante el nuevo ataque criminal contra la tranquilidad y la Paz de la Patria, el Gobierno Bolivariano y la #FANB se encuentran desplegados atendiendo las necesidades del pueblo. Los hijos e hijas de Bolívar demostraremos una vez más nuestra voluntad inquebrantable. ¡Venceremos! pic.twitter.com/M6SYC0VIEA
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) July 23, 2019
President Juan Guaidó – who, despite legally being the president of the country, has no control over the nation’s ruling authorities, its services, or institutions save for the National Assembly – accused the regime of fabricating stories to avoid taking responsibility for the breakdown of the country’s electrical grid.
“They tried to hide the tragedy with rationing across the country, but their failure is obvious: they destroyed the electrical system and have no answers,” he wrote on Twitter. “Tomorrow, we will take to the streets in protests. Venezuelans will not get used to this disaster.”
Intentaron esconder la tragedia con racionamientos en todo el país, pero el fracaso es evidente: destruyeron el sistema eléctrico y no tienen respuestas.
Mañana, con fuerza, vamos a la asamblea en la calle. Los venezolanos no nos acostumbraremos a este desastre. #ApagónNacional
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) July 22, 2019
The latest power cut comes a few months after multiple blackouts descended the country into a state of total chaos: mass looting sprees, widespread street demonstrations, and the closure of many essential public services. Dozens of people died as essential hospital equipment stopped working. The blackouts also caused damage to the nation’s water supply system. Many people reported what appeared to be oil-contaminated black water being pumped into their houses.
Those attacks were also blamed on the United States. Maduro described the blackouts as an “electronic coup” carried out by “criminal minds” in Washington. Venezuelan officials have never presented any evidence of U.S. involvement.