Venezuela shuts schools, businesses during blackout

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 8, 2019 - Duration: 01:54s

Venezuela shuts schools, businesses during blackout

Venezuela shut schools and suspended working hours on Friday after the capital Caracas and other major cities awoke without electricity for a second day due to a problem that struck the South American country’s main hydroelectric plant.

Havovi Cooper reports.

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Venezuela shuts schools, businesses during blackout

Venezuela's government shut schools and suspended working hours on Friday after Caracas and other major cities awoke without electricity as a problem stuck the country's main hydroelectric plant on Thursday.

The blackout has fueled anger among citizens.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL RESIDENT, YELITZE CORTES, SAYING: "The collapse of public services is what it is.

The public services are good for absolutely nothing in this country.

The lights just went out, that's something that's normal in our daily lives, and it's a disaster because the the metro is the (main) means of transportation, and of course it doesn't work." Local media and Twitter users reported that the outage was affecting 15 of the country's 23 states.

Critics say corruption and under investment have left Venezuela's power grid unable to function.

The oil-rich nation's economy has collapsed under hyperinflation, with chronic shortages of food and medicine and a mass exodus of more than 3 million citizens.

SOUNDBITE: LOCAL RESIDENT, DUBROSCAYA SOTO, SAYING: There are electricity cuts, there are cuts in water, in gas, in gasoline, in everything here in this country, really." President Nicolas Maduro called the outage an act of 'sabotage' and claims Venezuela's problems are intentionally created by political adversaries- including America.

U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo hit back on Thursday- tweeting "The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA.

It's not because of Colombia.

It's not Ecuador or Brazil, Europe or anywhere else.

Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime's incompetence." Meanwhile the country's opposition is promising frustrated Venezuelans a better future- with interim president Juan Guaido tweeting "Venezuela knows that the light will arrive with the end of the usurpation."

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