Venezuelans skeptical of power sabotage claims

September 4, 2013

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelans are skeptical of President Nicolas Maduro’s claims that saboteurs caused a blackout that left about 70 percent of the country without electricity and caused chaos in Caracas, interrupting subway service and snarling traffic.

For many, no explanation is necessary: Government neglect and incompetence caused the blackouts that have plagued the country for years while rarely affecting the capital.

Maduro claimed sabotage by “the extreme right-wing” for the outage that left 14 of 23 states without power much of Tuesday. He did not present any evidence.

Demands for Electrical Energy Minister Jesse Chacon’s resignation flooded Twitter. Chacon had vowed to revamp the power grid.

Chacon says the blackout was caused by transmission line problems lines in the Bajo Caroni region, where hydroelectric plants generate 60 percent of Venezuela’s power.