July 22, 2019 / 9:49 PM / a month ago

Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, first major outage since March

CARACAS, July 22 (Reuters) - At least 14 Venezuelan states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, the first nationwide blackout to include the capital Caracas since March.

Venezuela suffered a series of blackouts in March, the worst in decades, that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications. That exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.

The Information Ministry did not respond to a request to comment on the latest outage.

Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years without investment and insufficient maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.

Without providing evidence, President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the blackouts on sabotage coordinated by the United States. (Reporting by Caracas newsroom Writing by Angus Berwick Editing by Sarah Kinosian and Rosalba O’Brien)

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