On March 11, blackouts in Venezuela continued for the 4th day in a row.
US-Proclaimed Venezuelan President Juan Guaido claimed that 17 people have died in the power outages and that they were “murdered” by President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
“Venezuela has truly collapsed already,” Guaido said.
“There is no service in the hospitals. These were the best hospitals in the country. If we are in the capital what is it like kilometers inside Venezuela where there hasn’t been or there has been very little gasoline with periodic cuts in electricity, without basic goods, with inefficient public transportation? You can say with all responsibility that Venezuela has already collapsed.”
Guaido said the opposition had recorded 17 “murders” during the blackout.
“I can’t call it anything else, due to lack of electricity. Imagine if in your country, you wake to the news that there’s been four days without electricity because they steal from electricity plants and 17 people died. That’s murder,” he said.
Guaido also shared a tweet by Jose Manuel Olivares, a member of the Venezuelan National Assembly who shared a list claiming that 21 people had died due to the blackouts.
URGENTE. Este es el balance a esta hora de los fallecidos por el apagón. No es una simple cifra, son vidas de venezolanos que de no ser por la incapacidad de Nicolás Maduro, no se hubiesen perdido. #HospitalSinLuz pic.twitter.com/Lc9QcvsAoK
— Jose Manuel Olivares (@joseolivaresm) March 11, 2019
“Urgent. This is the balance at this hour of those killed by the blackout. It is not a simple figure, are Venezuelan lives that if not for the inability of Nicholas Maduro, they would not have lost. #HospitalSinLuz”
The Maduro government blamed a US cyber-attack for the blackouts, but Guaido said that such a scenario was “absurd.”
Venezuela’s main power plant is full of aging, analog machinery not connected to any network, he said.
“We are in the middle of a catastrophe that is not the result of a hurricane, that is not the result of a tsunami,” Guaido said. “It’s the product of the inefficiency, the incapability, the corruption of a regime that doesn’t care about the lives of Venezuelans.”
Guaido also said that he would call for a state of national emergency at a special plenary session in the National Assembly on March 11th.
In a video posted on Twitter he also once more asked the military to join the opposition and oust Maduro.
Nuestra Fuerza Armada no puede seguir siendo cómplice del usurpador de Miraflores. No pueden seguir escondiéndolo, porque con él no es viable una solución.
Hago un llamado a los familiares de nuestros funcionarios militares. Hablen y díganles lo que están sufriendo. pic.twitter.com/Du2JjHZ074
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 11, 2019
“Our armed forces cannot remain complicit in the usurper of Miraflores. They cannot keep hiding it, because with it it is not viable a solution.
I call on the relatives of our military officials. Talk and tell them what they’re suffering.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on his end ordered the chiefs of REDI, ZODI and the governors to keep the people informed in an attempt to stop “the macabre strategy of bringing us to a shutdown.”
He ordenado a todos los Jefes de REDI, ZODI y a los Gobernadores mantener informado a nuestro pueblo. La estrategia macabra de llevarnos a un enfrentamiento fracasará. Seguimos trabajando por la plena recuperación del Sistema Eléctrico Nacional. ¡Venceremos! pic.twitter.com/wnQHQYgzlK
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 10, 2019
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez announced that the Venezuelan Army has introduced an air surveillance system over the country’s power lines to protect its energy system and prevent further incidents.
“The Venezuelan National Armed Forces launched an air surveillance system for power lines today, and since yesterday they have occupied all strategic facilities… for physical protection at various levels in order to stabilise the system and prevent any other attacks”, Lopez said.
US Senator Marco Rubio, who was blamed by Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez that he was behind the blackout also provided an “overview” of the power outage crisis at the moment.
FIVE PART THREAD ON SITUATION IN #VENEZUELA:
The crisis inside the country has taken a rapid & catastrophic turn over the last 72 hours. As bad as the humanitarian crisis was before,since Thursday it has become increasingly horrific.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 10, 2019
US National Security Adviser John Bolton in an interview on ABC said that he was “honored” to be named by Nicolas Maduro as somebody he feared.
“RADDATZ: I think you got the idea there, pointing the finger, right, at you and others. Do you want Maduro to fear the advice you’re giving to the president?
BOLTON: Let me just say I’m honored to be named by Nicolas Maduro. I add him to the list of other people who’ve criticized me over the years. I don’t wish him any ill will. I tweeted some weeks ago I hope his future consists of living on a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela. It’s not just Maduro though. It’s the entire regime. It’s a group of kleptocrats who have plundered Venezuela of its oil wealth, have impoverished the people. You can see that now with the collapse of their nationwide electrical grid …”
He also said that he wasn’t sure Maduro would be ousted, but he thought that momentum was on Guaido’s side.
“RADDATZ: You’re pretty certain Maduro’s going to be out?
BOLTON: Well, I’m not certain of anything. But I do think momentum is on the side of Guaido. I think the overwhelming support of the population and the overwhelming support of the enlisted personnel in the military and the junior officers, the top officer corps, only a few have broken. You know, there are 2,000 admirals and generals in Venezuela which is more than all of the nations of NATO combined. That tells you who benefits from plundering the economy.”
He judges that the momentum is on Guaido’s side by the fact that Maduro has not ordered the police or military to arrest him after returning to Venezuela, in spite of a travel ban imposed on him by the Supreme Court.
“BOLTON: The point is that they have not sought to arrest Guaido and the and the National Assembly and the opposition. And I think one reason for that is that Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed. The fact is, and the media don’t know it because people don’t talk about this, there are countless conversations going on between members of the National Assembly and members of the military in Venezuela; talking about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition.”
On March 10th, MSM reports admitted that the burned US humanitarian aid truck was, in fact, burned by opposition supporters and not the Venezuelan military.
#Maduro ordering the firing on and burning of trucks filled with
humanitarian aid & attacking volunteers is unconscionable. I condemn the killings & human rights abuses committed by Maduro. Violent attacks against life-saving aid for #Venezuela is despicable. #EstamosUnidosVE https://t.co/BOSuVP1mTL
— Mark Green (@USAIDMarkGreen) February 23, 2019
.@marcorubio’s lie debunked: This video shows an opposition protester throwing a Molotov cocktail at the aid truck on the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge connecting Venezuela and Colombia. pic.twitter.com/4IgTt2u4pJ
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) February 24, 2019
The NYT tried to shift the blame, claiming that “US officials used unverified claims about a burning aid truck to spin their side on the Venezuelan crisis,” when in fact the original report apparently came from CNN.
You have to be fucking joking with this tweet. It was CNN – the outlet where you work – that led the way in spreading this lie all over the world. CNN claimed it saw with its own eyes something that never happened. It ignored all the evidence presented weeks ago proving this lie: https://t.co/HzVSTRnlvx
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 10, 2019
NYT’s Marshall Cohen also said that the burned aid truck was not such a big issue, since Maduro decided to block the humanitarian aid and in the end he and the Venezuelan government are ultimately to blame.
That being said, this was one larger flashpoint of a bigger reality. Maduro ordered his forces to block the humanitarian aid from entering the country in the first place. If the trucks can cross the border, that confrontation probably doesn't happen and probably there is no fire.
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) March 10, 2019
Even “open source investigation” website Bellingcat reached the same conclusion.
Regardless, the story with the burned truck was heavily used as a way to show how vicious the Venezuelan military are under Maduro’s rule. Now that it turned out the opposition burned it, it instantly becomes something insignificant.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Blackouts Continue In Venezuela After Another Alleged Cyber-Attack
- Maduro Government Blames Sabotage, ‘US Electricity War’ For Massive Blackout