New blackout takes Venezuelans by surprise; government alleges 'electromagnetic attack'

Venezuelan cities can be among the most violent in the world.

July 23, 2019, 12:04 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Citizens on the streets of Venezuela's capital city scrambled to find transportation home as a new blackout surprised the country Tuesday.

While different states have suffered from blackouts over the past few months, this is the first one to affect the entire country since March.

The streets of the capital city of Caracas were complete chaos as people rushed to get home before it got dark and phone service completely collapsed in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Buses were out of room for people who were desperately trying to get to their houses after the subway closed due to the lack of power.

The government was quick to announce it was a new attack, with communications minister Jorge Rodríguez calling the event an "electromagnetic attack" aimed at the main provider of power in the country.

People walk in the streets of Caracas after a massive blackout left the city and other parts of the country without electricity, in Caracas Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019. The power in the capital went out around 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) and immediatel
People walk in the streets of Caracas after a massive blackout left the city and other parts of the country without electricity, in Caracas Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019. The power in the capital went out around 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) and immediately backed up traffic as the subway stopped working and office workers had to begin trekking home during rush hour. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
The Associated Press
PHOTO: People ask a taxi driver how much it is to take them to their neighborhood during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019.
People ask a taxi driver how much it is to take them to their neighborhood during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019.
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Embattled president Nicolas Maduro tweeted in Spanish, "With the new criminal attack against the peace of the country, the Bolivarian Government and the armed forces are deployed to meet the needs of the people."

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as the rightful leader of the country by the United States -- and 53 other countries -- since January, also addressed this matter over Twitter.

"They tried to hide the tragedy with (power) rationing throughout the country, but the failure is evident: They’ve destroyed the electrical system and have no answers," he said.

Guaido took the opportunity to invite Venezuelans to an open assembly on Wednesday where he would be making "important announcements."

PHOTO: People cross a street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019.
People cross a street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019. The lights went out across much of Venezuela Monday, reviving fears of the blackouts that plunged the country into chaos a few months ago as the government once again accused opponents of sabotaging the nation's hydroelectric power system.
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Caracas saw 2,980 murders in 2018, more than any other Latin American country, according to Mexico-based nonprofit Seguridad, Justicia y Paz. It's murder rate of 100 per 100,000 inhabitants was third in Latin America.

Two other Venezuelan cities, Guayana (seventh) and Ciudad Bolivar (10th) also finished in the top 10 last year, according to the group.

Some users on Twitter said the power was back in some areas of the country late Monday.

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