70% of Venezuela Goes Dark

President Nicolas Maduro blames saboteurs
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2013 2:40 AM CDT
70% of Venezuela Goes Dark
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)

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. (More Venezuela stories.)

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