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Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames 'electromagnetic attack'

Updated : 2019-07-23 11:15:25

More than half of Venezuela's 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an "electromagnetic attack." It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications. The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy. Venezuelan information minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an "electromagnetic attack," without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service. Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam - the source of most of Venezuela's generation - but went out again, according to a Reuters witness. Electricity was still out throughout Caracas. The oil-rich country's hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country. Venezuela's national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.

A man looks over a bar in a bakery during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A man looks over a bar in a bakery during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk past a closed metro station during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People walk past a closed metro station during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
The lights of a car illumine people on the side of the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
The lights of a car illumine people on the side of the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People use their cell phones in a bar during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People use their cell phones in a bar during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A man uses a cellphone to illuminate a vendor in a bar during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A man uses a cellphone to illuminate a vendor in a bar during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
A man walks at parking garage during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man walks at parking garage during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk next to a non-functioning traffic light during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk next to a non-functioning traffic light during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People walk on the street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People ride in a bus during a blackout in Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
People ride in a bus during a blackout in Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
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