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Internet Collapses in Venezuela with 80% Offline; Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud Blocked

In the midst of a second nationwide power outage in Venezuela, the vast majority of the country is engulfed in a massive internet outage. The first electrical blackout, which swept across the nation on Thursday, left Venezuela with only two percent connectivity amid the ongoing presidential crisis. Most of the country has been offline since Thursday with limited or no connectivity being reported across large swaths of the South American nation. The NetBlocks Group, a private internet watchdog organization based in the UK, reported on Saturday that 96 percent of the country was offline:

The group provided an update on Sunday noting that 20 percent now have connectivity.

Gains in connectivity have been lost through a series of three distinct new outages as shown in NetBlocks’ network connectivity charts.

Internet-scale network measurements indicate which regions have been affected and to what extent. During previous network and power outages, concerns have been raised about attacks and military activity, and the risk of human rights violations perpetrated under the cover of darkness.

The chart below shows a precipitous drop in internet connectivity on Thursday with a partial recovery on Saturday followed by another large drop on Sunday.

“Venezuela experiences frequent power cuts, and Venezuela started power rationing and reduced its electricity consumption to about 14,000 megawatts at peak hours because of the economic crisis in 2018,” NetBlocks said. “However the nationwide outages are unprecedented in magnitude, extent and duration. NetBlocks historic data suggest that incidents of this scale are vanishingly rare.”

On March 4, NetBlocks reported that the Venezuelan government had blocked YouTube and SoundCloud and partially blocked Twitter.

“Twitter image and video servers and platform backends have been blocked in Venezuela from 3:10 PM UTC on state provider CANTV (AS8048) and its mobile network Movistar, as interim leader Juan Guaidó is set to arrive in Caracas after a tour of neighboring countries,” the organization explained. “The restrictions have been implemented as the leader calls supporters to the streets under the hashtags #4MVzlaALaCalle, #VamosVzla and #VamosJuntosALaCalle.”