At least 17 states across Venezuela are reportedly experiencing power outages as of the afternoon (local time) of Monday, July 22. According to initial reports, the blackout started around 16:40 and is affecting millions of people, including in the capital Caracas. Metro service in Caracas is reportedly shut down and internet service has also been significantly disrupted. According to the Minister of Communications, Jorge Rodríguez, this most recent blackout was caused by an “electromagnetic attack” on the country’s main hydroelectric power plant. As of Monday evening, it is unclear when power is expected to be restored.
Associated unrest, including protests, cannot be ruled out over the coming hours and days. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites
Recurrent power outages have affected Venezuela since late March, which have caused disruptions to transportation, water distribution systems, and telecommunications services, notably in the capital Caracas. The government had previously claimed outages were caused by acts of "sabotage" carried out by the US; however, previous 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.
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to instructions issued by their home governments, keep battery-operated devices fully charged whenever possible, remain vigilant for criminal behavior and avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media, and avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest. In addition, individuals are advised to be cautious when driving or crossing streets if traffic signals are not functional.
The security situation in Venezuela remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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