On March 7th, a blackout took place in Venezuela reportedly leaving 22 states out of 23 without electricity.
The Maduro government blamed the US for the blackout. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed that the reason was “the electric war announced and directed by American imperialism.”
La guerra eléctrica anunciada y dirigida por el imperialismo estadounidense en contra de nuestro pueblo será derrotada. Nada ni nadie podrá vencer al pueblo de Bolívar y Chávez. ¡Máxima unidad de los patriotas!
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 8, 2019
“The electric War announced and directed by American imperialism against our people will be defeated. Nothing and no one can beat the people of Bolivar and Chávez. Maximum unity of the Patriots!”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied the allegations, saying that the US, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil or the EU wouldn’t hurt the “ordinary Venezuelans.” According to him, what’s hurting the people is the “Maduro regime’s incompetence.”
The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA. It’s not because of Colombia. It’s not Ecuador or Brazil, Europe or anywhere else. Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime’s incompetence.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 8, 2019
Also adding the following tweets for dramatic effect: “Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness,” in addition to “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”
Venezuelan Energy Minister Motta Dominguez said that the power outage was the result of an attack on Venezuela’s main hydroelectric power station in Guri in the southern state of Bolivar, which provides the country with about 70% of its energy.
“This is an attack (on) the government, this is an attack (on) the people and there are communities that in less than 15 minutes had already gone out to protest and close streets,” Dominguez said. “People generally wait until service is re-established. So, this verifies and confirms that this was pre-planned,” the minister added.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez blamed US Senator Marco Rubi for being behind the alleged attack on Guri.
“Jorge Rodriguez says Marco Rubio was behind the #Apagon in Venezuela.
“Marco Rubio failed again in record time pay back service in the east and in the coming hours in the rest of the country” #SinLuz”
Jorge Rodriguez asegura que Marco Rubio estuvo detras del #Apagon en Venezuela.
— Nellie A. Izarza 🌹 🇻🇪🇺🇸 (@myteks) March 8, 2019
“What’s the intention?” Rodriguez said. “To submit the Venezuelan people to various days without electricity to attack, to mistreat, so that vital areas would be without power.”
Naturally, Marco Rubio denied the allegations, saying that “this is not Dr. Evil from the movie Austin Powers,” in a Trump-esque row of “Twitter-style diplomacy.”
No this is not Dr. Evil from the movie Austin Powers.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 8, 2019
He also turned the entire accusation into a joke, alleging that he “pressed the wrong thing on the “electric attack” app I downloaded from Apple.”
My apologies to people of Venezuela. I must have pressed the wrong thing on the “electronic attack” app I downloaded from Apple. My bad. https://t.co/5oZURMSnrB
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 8, 2019
In an interview with Fox News, Rubio also claimed that Donald Trump would not give up until Maduro is gone from Venezuela.
Rubio also alleged that Venezuela has only “days” of food and energy left, and that the Maduro government can’t keep blocking the aid indefinitely. And the incoming massive humanitarian crisis is because the government is still “so much money.”
In the same news bloc, US National Security Adviser John Bolton also once more reiterated that the US wants a peaceful transfer of power from Maduro to US-proclaimed President Juan Guaido.
Bolton also reminded his warning towards foreign financial institutions that facilitate “illegitimate transactions” that benefit the “illegitimate” Maduro government.
His warning was also repeated by US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams who on March 7th spoke to a US Senate subcommittee hearing. He also warned of more sanctions.
“There will be more sanctions on financial institutions that are carrying out the orders of the Maduro regime.”
Furthermore, US Vice President Mike Pence announced that US State Department would revoke the visas of 77 people associated with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. These come in addition to the 49 that were revoked on March 1st.
“Today the State Department is announcing that the United States will revoke 77 visas, including many officials of the Maduro regime and their families,” Pence said in a speech to the Latino Coalition in Washington.
Meanwhile, Juan Guaido tweeted that “the light comes with the cessation of usurpation.”
Venezuela tiene claro que la luz llega con el cese de la usurpación. Sigamos adelante. Durante nuestra gira en el sur, buscamos apoyos para atender esta crisis. El bloqueo al progreso lo vencemos con movilización ¡Nos vemos el sábado en la calle!
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 7, 2019
Guaido also said that “This blackout is evidence of the usurper’s inefficiency,” on Twitter.
His final tweet is open to interpretation, but Guaido claimed that “We have the Guri, Tocom and Uachi. We have a central plant in Tacoa. We have water, oil and gas. But unfortunately, we have an usurper in Miraflores.”
Tenemos El Guri, Tocoma y Caruachi.
Tenemos Planta Centro y Tacoa.
Tenemos agua, petróleo y gas.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 8, 2019
Whether Guaido is actually giving an ultimatum and trying to “blackmail” the Venezuelan people and military to oust Maduro in return for basic commodities is open to interpretation.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Possible US Military Intervention In Venezuela Struggles To Gain Friction
- The Recolonization of Latin America and the War on Venezuela
- Venezuelan Army Exiles Reportedly Abandoned Plan To Enter Country By Force Last Month