Venezuela hit by fourth massive blackout in less than three weeks | World news

Venezuela has suffered its fourth massive blackout in less than three weeks, leaving at least of 12 of its 23 states without electricity and reinforcing the sense of crisis in the country.

Many of the cities and regions affected by Wednesday’s outage had yet to recover from two other crippling blackouts on Monday that forced the government to close schools and businesses and left the country’s biggest airport in the dark.

Nicolás Maduro and his inner circle have put a brave face on the latest calamity, which comes less than three weeks after the start of a six-day nationwide blackout.

“United Venezuela will prevail,” tweeted shortly Delcy Rodríguez, the vice-president, before Wednesday’s power failure. She denounced the “criminal imperialist attack” her administration accuses of attacking the national grid in order to topple Maduro.

But there was anger and on the streets of Venezuela’s capital – where many citizens are now living without water as well as light – as citizens faced up to another period of profound uncertainty and deprivation.

Despite government claims, many people suspect the blackouts are the result of crumbling infrastructure caused by years of corruption, incompetence and under-investment.

“I feel hopelessness and despair,” said Nohelia van Praag, a 43-year-old pre-school teacher from Caracas.

What was the solution? “For this man to go,” Van Praag said of Maduro.

Franklin Piccone, a teacher and activist from eastern Caracas who works in the city’s slums, said: “There is no way this government can last six years. They have shown they have no answers. It’s just failure after failure.”

“We are talking about a failed state,” Piccone added. “We are in a situation of total lawlessness.”

The internet monitoring organisation NetBlocks reported that 91% of Venezuela was knocked offline by Wednesday’s blackout.

Additional reporting by Patricia Torres in Caracas

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