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Caracas in chaos without power

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CARACAS (AFP) – Chaos reigned in the Venezuelan capital Caracas after the city was hit by a massive blackout on Tuesday, causing transport chaos and crippling telecommunication services for millions of people.

The blackout occurred following a failure at an electrical plant . Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez said on Twitter that the outage has left 80 percent of the city as well as parts of neighboring Miranda and Vargas states..

He offered no further details but said authorities were working to restore power.

Local news outlets report many Venezuelans are walking to work because the metro is shut down.

The outage comes a day after the power went off at a socialist party gathering as the deputy leader was live on television urging delegates to elect President Nicolas Maduro as leader of the country’s ruling political party.

Mr Maduro later called the brief outage an act of “sabotage” but has admitted his economic model has “failed” in the wake of food and medicine shortages and public service paralysis, such as Tuesday’s power failure.

Mr Maduro, who blames Venezuela’s woes on an “economic war” waged by the United States, called on PSUV supporters to help kick-start production and resist US “aggression.”

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” Mr Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress, as Venezuela looks to tackle chronic inflation the International Monetary Fund predicted would reach one million percent this year.

The economic crisis has hit so hard that the public transport system has almost ground to a halt, with the government and local councils offering free rides in unsafe and uncomfortable pick-up trucks – branded “kennels” by users – after many bus service providers couldn’t afford to keep their vehicles on the road.

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