A major power outage has been reported nationwide on Thursday evening (local time), March 7, following suspected infrastructure failure at the Simón Bolívar hydroelectric plant. Total or near-total blackouts have been reported since 16:00 (local time) throughout the states of Amazonas, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcón, Guárico, Lara, Mérida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Táchira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, and Zulia, as well as in the Capital District, while the states of Anzoátegui and Bolívar report intermittent power outages. In Caracas and Valencia (Carabobo state), the metro public transportation systems have reportedly been suspended due to a lack of power. Monitoring groups have also reported internet and telecommunication outages nationwide since 16:00. These outages are likely to result in significant disruptions to business activity and daily life. Associated protests cannot be ruled out.
Power outages are common in Venezuela, including in the capital. The government often claims the outages are caused by an act of "sabotage;" however, past outages that had been blamed on attacks were later attributed to infrastructural deficiencies.
Venezuela is experiencing an ongoing crisis spurred by President Nicolás Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10 following last year's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state. Guaidó has reportedly coordinated several deliveries of humanitarian aid from neighboring states which have been blocked by the Maduro regime.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to keep battery-operated devices fully charged whenever possible. In addition, individuals are advised to be cautious when driving or crossing streets if traffic signals are not functioning.
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