(Adds quotes from electrical energy minister)
CARACAS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A power outage which the government blamed on “sabotage” hit parts of Venezuelan capital Caracas on Tuesday, forcing at least 10 subway stations to close and affecting traffic signals and phone lines during rush hour.
Critics of the OPEC nation’s socialist government pointed to the outage as another sign of economic meltdown, as prices soar amid hyperinflation, millions suffer food and medicine shortages, and oil production falls to its lowest levels in years.
“How much more do we have to endure? We have become so primitive in this country,” said Alejandra Arcia, 46, a shop assistant trying to figure out how to get her two children home.
The government pinned the blame on saboteurs, who it said cut a cable and created an explosion. It did not give further details.
“This was an act of sabotage. This is already proven,” minister of electrical energy Luis Motta told state television.
Infrastructure problems are not rare in Venezuela but the partial blackout occurred just over a month after a major five-hour outage in Caracas and other cities, which authorities blamed on the collapse of a cable linking a power plant and a transmission tower.
Electricity returned to some parts of Caracas early evening on Tuesday. (Reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Corina Pons, Vivian Sequera, Andrew Cawthorne and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, Francisco Aguilar in Barinas and Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal; writing by Girish Gupta; editing by Sandra Maler and Rosalba O’Brien)