CARACAS, Venezuela — Hospitals struggled to get back-up generators running, businesses shuttered and families anxiously tried to contact loved ones amid Venezuela’s worst-ever power outage Friday, raising tensions in a country already on edge from ongoing political turmoil.
Much of the nation of 31 million people was still without electricity as the blackout stretched into a second day and patience began to wear thin.
“This has never happened before,” a frustrated Orlando Roa, 54, said, decrying President Nicolas Maduro’s administration for failing to maintain the electrical system and letting qualified engineers leave the country. “This is the fault of the government.”
The blackout was reported to have hit 22 of 23 states, striking during the peak of evening rush hour Thursday, sending thousands of people on long nighttime treks home through some of the world’s most violent streets. Maduro ordered schools and all government entities closed and told businesses not to open to facilitate work crews trying to restore power.