Most of Venezuela was plunged into darkness on Thursday evening after a huge power cut that the government of President Nicolas Maduro blamed on "sabotage."
Apart from a few buildings with electricity supplied from a private generator, AFP reporters said the capital Caracas was hit by a total blackout at 4:50 pm, just before nightfall.
That included the city metro, along with telephone and internet services. One of the most dangerous cities in the world, Caracas's streets are usually deserted after dark.
Local press reports said the power cut affected most of the country.
"They sabotaged the central generator... it's part of the electric war against the state," said the state electric company CORPOELEC on its Twitter account.
"We won't allow it, we're working to re-establish the service."
The central hydroelectric generator in Guri, in the eastern Bolivar state, is one of the most important of its kind in Latin America, alongside that in Itaipu, on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.
Power cuts are a regular occurrence in Venezuela, which is suffering from an economic crisis.
Experts blame the government for a lack of investment in infrastructure, while the regime points the finger at saboteurs, without ever identifying them.
A year ago, Maduro asked the armed forces to provide security to protect the country's hydroelectric generators, but the power cuts continue.
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