Power outages covered more than half of Venezuela’s territory on Tuesday, including nine of the country’s 23 states. According to Deputy Energy Minister Francisco Silva, the blackouts were due to the failure of several grid transmission lines. The blackouts also paralyzed Caracas’ subway system and shut down traffic lights, causing heavy traffic across the capital.
President Nicolás Maduro said that Venezuela’s oil industry was not affected by the outages and deployed the armed services to help maintain control until power could be restored. Maduro accused the opposition of orchestrating the blackout on his Twitter account: “At this moment, everything seems to indicate that the far-right has resumed its plan for an electrical strike against the country.”
The power outages come one day after Finance Minister Nelson Merentes said that while the chavista government has made great strides in eliminating poverty and inequality, it has yet to solve the “structural problems” with the Venezuelan economy. Despite its oil riches, Venezuela high inflation and a looming energy crisis pose a long-term dilemma for Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chávez in April.