CARACAS (Reuters) - A power outage hit parts of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, on Tuesday, according to witnesses and subway authorities, forcing at least 10 subway stations to close while traffic signals and phone lines were also down at rush-hour.

 

Critics of the socialist government running the OPEC-member country 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.

 

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.

 

State electricity provider CORPOELEC said it was working on the issues and would make an announcement shortly.

(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 Grant McCool and Sandra Maler)