A massive power outage left 60% of the country without electricity for most of the afternoon. The Minister of Electrical Energy, Jesse Chacon, explained:
A failure occurred approximately two days ago when eight [electrical] towers collapsed. While the repairs were being conducted, a failure occurred in the La Arenosa station, which as a consequence brought the Planta Centro and Termo Carabobo generation stations offline, [as well as] the entire Capital, Zulia and Los Andes systems.
At the height of the outage, 15 out of Venezuela’s 23 states were completely without electricity. The outage began at 3:00 PM, and by 5:45 power was being restored to large swaths of the affected areas.
Maduro wasted no time in addressing the issue, and was making conjectures on the origins of the outage almost as soon as it happened. Maduro said:
We’re going to launch a very objective investigation to get to the root [of this], to see if this happened due to a weakness in the system or human error, or, once again, if it was a planned failure, induced by people who’ve gone mad. We know that there are small groups of people who’ve gone mad.
The outage today was the third major national power failure in a year. This past December 2 an outage left large areas of the country in the dark, and three months prior to that another outage left 19 out of 23 states without power. The September 3 outage led to the creation of the Gran Mision Electrica, an initiative to tackle the country’s energy problems to ensure another outage would not happen.
The December outage lasted for approximately six hours, while the September outage lasted only three hours. It appears as if this latest one was approximately the same length.
El Universal has a photo gallery showcasing some images from Caracas today.
The blackout appears to have drawn people out onto the street, as was the case with these neighbours from Chacao who took the opportunity to block a road:
In the La Candelaria area of Caracas, commuters were forced onto the streets while the subway system was down:
A similar scene played out near Plaza Venezuela:
Maduro Announces Major Government Restructuring
Today, Maduro announced that from July 1 to the 15, all government ministries and objectives will come under the microscope, as the country must enter “a new phase”:
We have to enter a new phase, a new phase of construction.
We are going to completely shake up government mechanisms to enter a truly efficient stage.
While it is not apparently evidence what exactly the “shake up” will look like, it is likely that an assessment process will take place, with the possible end result being cabinet shuffling and agency creation/restructuring.
Elias Jaua Calls for Unity
Elias Jaua, the Foreign Minister, became the latest figure to call for unity within the PSUV in light of the schism that has recently come to light. At a meeting of the UBch (Bolivar-Chavez Battle Units, a militia), Jaua said:
[Loyalty and unity] are the fundamental values that we must take care of as we take care of a small child. There will be no internal or external force – nor oligarchy or imperialism – that can [defeat] Chavez’s socialist and Bolivarian people.
Before Chavez came, the people are divided. Some were copeyana [from the COPEI party], some were adeca [from the AD party], and a small number of us belonged to the 30 or leftist parties. Chavez taught us a lesson: only a united people triumph, advance and build their well-being…
At the same event, Diosdado Cabello urged the UBCh on, saying:
We have to be ready. We have to defend not only the PSUV elections, but we must also go out and defend President Nicolas Maduro’s term and the legacy of Hugo Chavez.
Finally, a video showing a collection of images taken from Caracas during the demonstrations this past Tuesday: