AP NEWS

Lights go out during vote for Maduro as socialist party head

July 31, 2018
FILE - In this July 5, 2018 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro waves alongside first lady Cilia Flores as they ride in an open vehicle during a military parade marking the Independence Day in Caracas, Venezuela. An annual gathering for Venezuelan socialists on Monday, July 30, 2018 took an unexpected turn when the lights went out just as they were about to select Maduro as their party’s leader. (AP Photos/Ariana Cubillos, File)
FILE - In this July 5, 2018 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro waves alongside first lady Cilia Flores as they ride in an open vehicle during a military parade marking the Independence Day in Caracas, Venezuela. An annual gathering for Venezuelan socialists on Monday, July 30, 2018 took an unexpected turn when the lights went out just as they were about to select Maduro as their party’s leader. (AP Photos/Ariana Cubillos, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — An annual gathering of Venezuelan socialists took an unexpected turn when the lights went out just as they were about to select President Nicolas Maduro as their party’s leader.

The blackout happened Monday right as Diosdado Cabello was urging socialist party delegates to give Maduro unlimited power to “strengthen the party and revolution.”

Cabello raised his hand and asked others to follow suit in electing Maduro, but the lights abruptly went out and the live television transmission cut off.

After about 20 minutes the event went back on air.

Maduro later appeared and called the incident an act of “sabotage,” offering no proof except to note that other parts of the hotel never lost electricity.

He frequently blames the opposition for the beleaguered country’s increasing power woes.