Last night a blackout which affected the majority of the country saw the national government accuse the rightwing of sabotage.
The blackout affected central and western Venezuela, where the largest cities are. It began at 8pm and electricity returned to Caracas at around 9.30pm, while it returned to Merida at 2am.
Electricity minister Jesse Chacon alleged that the blackout was intentional. He said a special commission was investigating the failure, which he said originated in the substation La Arenosa, between Carabobo and Aragua states, in the central north of Venezuela.
Chacon said that authorities had found a 3.3cm diameter electrical conductor that had split in one of the towers of the national grid, causing a short circuit. Chacon said such a problem hadn’t occured before in the thirty year life of the electricity system.
President Nicolas Maduro also alleged that the blackout was intentional. He said Venezuela’s intelligence agencies “revealed that a series of actions were planned” for yesterday, “In three different places they had organised disturbances. Immediately after the blackout, they went out into the street to burn tires”.
He accused the rightwing of “taking electricity away from the people in order to provoke a state of irritation and discontent with the government… they are desperate because they know they face a big defeat on 8 December… they see the polls and the street”.
President of the national assembly, Diosdado Cabello also said that the electricity blackout “smelt of sabotage”.
Opposition governor, Henrique Capriles alleged that Monday night’s blackout is “what the greater part of the country experiences everyday” and the opposition coalition, the MUD, said the government’s accusations of sabotage were “politically and electorally motivated”.
Maduro also said the blackout occurred in the same place as the large blackout in September this year. At the time he argued that the blackout was a “rehearsal” for the December elections.