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article imageBlackout leaves most of Venezuela without electricity

By Anne Sewell     Sep 4, 2013 in World
Caracas - A power cut left around 70 percent of Venezuela without power on Tuesday. President Nicolás Maduro says sabotage by opposition is responsible for the outage, but his opposition disagrees.
According to government officials, a break in one of the nation’s major power transmission lines that provides electricity to the western and central regions of the country was responsible for the blackout.
Most of the country was left in the dark and the power cut caused traffic chaos in much of Caracas. However authorities did expect the lights to be turned back on within hours.
"Power is down on the main line," Deputy Electric Minister Franco Silva said on state television. "We are working to re-establish electricity service and investigating where the problem is located."
According to President Nicolás Maduro, 14 of 23 states had lost power for much of the day and he blamed "sabotage", blaming opposition groups for the incident. Maduro blamed "the extreme rightwing" via Twitter.
However, opposition politicians say poor management and failure to invest in infrastructure are to blame. They say that the government spends billions on programs for the poor, but has not invested sufficiently in the electrical grid and generating plants to keep up with growing demand for power.
Venezuelan opposition leader Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles said:
"Perhaps one day we will learn the real cause of the blackout."
"This is the only Latin American nation where this happens, in a country with the world's most important oil reserves."
Capriles continued on Twitter explaining how Venezuelans were suffering due to the Government's incompetence.
"Venezuelans deserve a country without power outages and where necessary investments for maintenance are made to solve the crisis."
"They will tell another tall-tale to try to cover their failure. All these incidents should motivate us, Venezuelans, to fight for a change. Our country deserves a change, and it depends on all of us!"
According to Maduro, service was progressively restored with some exceptions.
The oil-producing state of Zulia was not affected by the outage as oil refineries are powered by separate generator plants.
Electricity was restored in Caracas by nightfall.
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