Much of Venezuela in Darkness Thanks to Massive Blackout

The power outages that hit Venezuela Thursday continued into early Friday.

The blackout hit most of the country’s 23 states. The capital Caracas, usually spared electrical cuts, was struck at the peak of rush hour.

Large crowds of commuters had to walk for several hours to their homes because few buses were on the streets and the city’s metro system was shut down.

Officials said the hydroelectric station at the Guri Dam, one of the world’s largest, had been sabotaged, but offered no evidence.

Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, labeled the outage an “electrical war” directed by the United States.

“The war of electricity announced and directed by U.S. imperialism against our people will be defeated. Nothing and no one can defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez. Patriots, unite!” Maduro wrote on Twitter.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president recognized by the United States and about 50 other nations took to Twitter to blast Maduro for the outage.

“How do you tell a mom who needs to cook, an ill person who depends on a machine, a worker who should be laboring that we are in a powerful country without electricity?” he wrote. “Venezuela is clear that the light will return with the end of usurpation.”

Venezuela’s electrical system, once the most efficient in Latin America, has fallen into a state of disrepair after years of poor maintenance and mismanagement.

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