Power outage affects much of Venezuela

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Associated Press

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 4:32 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A widespread power outage left much of Venezuela in the dark Friday, and turned out the lights at a nationally televised presidential ceremony.

In addition to causing traffic snarls and darkened offices in the South American country's capital city of Caracas, the outage affected at least nine of Venezuela's 23 states.

A plant that powers the country's central and western regions failed in the early afternoon, according to Electricity Minister Jesse Chacon. Electricity still had not been fully restored as night fell.

The outage disrupted a televised celebration of journalists that President Nicolas Maduro was holding in the governmental palace.

Subway systems and train schedules were suspended around the country.

In Caracas, the sidewalks filled up with pedestrians, forcing some people to walk in the streets. While some middle class neighborhoods were without power after nightfall, the city's center experienced only intermittent outages.

Officials said they would prioritize Caracas as they restored power to all states. The last time Caracas lost power, in March, electricity was not fully restored for 12 hours.

The socialist country suffered major blackouts in 2012 and 2013. The administration blamed the power outages on sabotage, while opponents said they were the result of government incompetence.

The government has also occasionally pointed to wildlife, including gnawing iguanas and possums, as causes for the continuing power outages. On Friday, inconvenienced Venezuelans posted iguanas on their social media profiles in protest of the blackout.

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