President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the suspension of school and business activities on Friday, March 8, amid ongoing power outages throughout Venezuela, including in the capital Caracas. The blackout has affected over 20 states since 16:00 (local time) on Thursday, March 7. Flight disruptions have been reported at Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) due to the lack of lights at the airport. In Caracas, all metro services have been suspended and traffic lights have stopped functioning. Internet services and phone lines are affected. Reports indicate water distribution to buildings in the capital is largely disrupted as the power cuts have affected the city's electric water pumps. While no significant protests have been reported, residents in the capital reportedly banged pots and pans overnight March 7-8. Significant transportation disruptions are likely on Friday in Caracas and other major urban areas until power is restored. Associated protests cannot be ruled out.
According to officials, the most recent outage has been caused by a failure at the Guri hydroelectric dam. 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.
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media, and adhere to all instructions issued by their home governments.
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