Venezuela: Roundup – 3- Details of Electricity War exposed, saboteurs detained, imperialist economic war widens

venezuela blackout caracas

Details of the Electricity War, part of a plan to incite unrest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling party, have been exposed. President Maduro has presented details of the attacks on the country’s electricity supply system.

The attacks were made through three phases.

Maduro on March 11, 2019 described the sabotage as the cruelest blow in the history of Venezuela.

From the Miraflores Palace, headquarters of the government, President Maduro explained the measures taken for the restoration of electricity supply, which the officials and workers of the National Electric Corporation (CORPOLEC) carried out before the cybernetic attack against the Venezuelan Electroenergetic System.

The President explained that the first attack was made on the technology area of the Simón Bolívar hydroelectric plant, known as El Guri, which supplies electricity for 80 percent of the country.

He informed that after 70 percent of the service in the capital was restored, the vandals paid by the opposition physically attacked the La Ciudadela substation in the Baruta municipality, Miranda state, to shut down Caracas again.

In the face of this attempt for creating destabilization, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces were ordered to monitor the territory to guarantee the safety of the citizens.

The three phases of attacks, according to President Maduro were as follows:

  1. Cybernetic attack: It was made on the computerized system of the company CORPOELEC at the El Guri hydroelectric plant. Cyber warfare experts were used to recover the system.
  2. Electromagnetic way: Mobile devices with high frequencies were used to knock down communications.
  3. Physically carried out attack: The burning and bombings of substations and electrical stations

The President denounced the sabotage as “a great violation of human rights in our country by the right wing, who celebrate national suffering.”

Maduro said two would-be saboteurs have been detained. They have been handed over to court. They were trying to take down the communications system of the Guri dam. Investigation is underway.

Detaining of the two saboteurs helped avert another serious catastrophe.

Authorities are now looking for the “intellectual authors” of the sabotage.

Maduro has blamed the U.S. for the technological attack on Venezuela’s electricity system.

After attack on the Guri dam authorities, worked round the clock to fix the problem. They restored nearly 70 percent of the electricity supply. Then, a cyber-attack knocked it out again on Saturday afternoon. One of the generators was working. An infiltrator could have sabotaged that unit.

Maduro stressed that the “Venezuelan state has to act” to hold those to blame for the “electrical criminal coup” responsible.

The President praised the “effort and behavior” of Venezuelans as they remained at peace despite the prolonged blackout.

Maduro has suspended school and business activities for Tuesday as much of the nation remains in darkness.

Maduro twits

Maduro posted to Twitter:

“We have defeated coups d’état, oil sabotage, violent rioters and attacks on our sovereignty, and rest assured we are going to defeat the electricity war.”

Interventionists’ claim

However, imperial interventionists are portraying the sabotage as result of “neglect and mismanagement”.

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, a leading figure in Maduro’s ouster game, claimed the outages are due to “years of neglect” and “mismanagement and greed” of Maduro’s government. He denied US responsibility for the electricity outage.

Electricity sabotage against Venezuela is terrorism, says Cuba

The Cuba government has rejected the electricity sabotage activity in Venezuela.

Cuba has described attack on Venezuela’s electricity supply system as a terrorist act.

In a statement, the Cuban government said that the attack has been “aimed at damaging the defenseless population to use as a hostage in the unconventional war unleashed by the United States against the Venezuelan government.”

Cuba said that it is an escalation of violence that evokes the oil strike of 2002, and the activities after the interventionist failure on February 23, 2019, when the interventionists tried to forcibly push a supposed “humanitarian aid”.

The statement also denounced a campaign of lies coordinated by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton against Venezuela. One of those lies, says the statement, is that “Cuba has between 20 and 25 thousand military personnel in Venezuela who threaten the officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.”

“Cuba categorically rejects this lie, as it equally firmly rejects any suggestion that there is any degree of political subordination from Venezuela to Cuba or from Cuba to Venezuela,” asserted the Cuban government.

US sanctions Russian bank over Venezuela-links

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a Russian bank, which it claimed has business ties with a designated Venezuelan state-owned oil company. It is the latest move by the U.S. to drain off financial support for President Maduro’s government.

The U.S. Treasury said in a statement that it has slapped sanctions on Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a Moscow-based bank which “has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for” Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA), the Venezuelan state-owned oil company that has been added to America’s blacklist in January.

Following Monday’s announcement, all property of Evrofinance in the U.S. or in the possession or control of U.S. persons would be blocked, and U.S. persons were generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with it.

Evrofinance is jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies, according to the Treasury statement. The Venezuelan government bought a 49 percent stake in Evrofinance through the Venezuelan National Development Fund in 2011.

US puts ‘on notice’ companies for Venezuela-Cuba oil shipments

Insurance companies and flag carriers facilitating oil shipments from Venezuela to Cuba are on notice after the Venezuelan “National Assembly” “suspended” crude exports to Cuba, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a statement.

“The Venezuelan National Assembly has decreed the suspension of crude exports to Cuba following the collapse of the national electrical grid”, Bolton said via Twitter on Monday. “Insurance companies and flag carriers that facilitate these give-away shipments to Cuba are now on notice”.

However, the Constitutional Council of Venezuela has declared the “national assembly” as illegal, and without any constitutional basis, as the assembly went against basic principles of the Bolivarian republic.

Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, told reporters that by blocking PdVSA assets, the U.S was “taking care of this company in the interests of the Venezuelan people”. Venezuela has slammed the U.S. measures as unlawful and accused Washington of seeking to get its hands on Venezuelan oil reserves. President Maduro said the U.S. sanctions were tantamount to an illegal seizure of the country’s sovereign assets.

US withdrawing all remaining diplomats from Venezuela

The US State Department announced it is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, citing the “deteriorating situation” and referring to the presence of US staff at the embassy as a “constraint on US policy.” Mike Pompeo announced the withdrawal on Monday.

While most US staff stationed in Caracas had already been withdrawn in January following the US-backed Juan Guaido’s attempt to declare himself “president”, a select few remained in defiance of President Maduro’s order to U.S. diplomats to leave the country.

Guaido declares “national emergency”

Guaido, identified as a puppet of imperialism, declared a “national emergency” during a news conference in Caracas on Monday in an effort to “rally public anger”.

He called on the Venezuelan military to defect.

He claimed 17 people had died due to lack of electricity since the first blackout on Thursday and blamed Maduro for the “murders”.

Electricity being gradually restored: Caracas Mayor

“In the next few hours we will be able to normalize the situation so that life can return to normal in our country,” said Erika Farias, the mayor of Caracas.

Erika Farias, said on Sunday that, in the face of continued electrical sabotage, the “people have responded with peace and will remain in peace.” After 96 hours of a national power blackout, no acts of violence have been recorded as a result of the prolonged cut.

Farias assured the population that the resumption of energy would be progressive. “The Government is working to restore permanently the right to electricity, we are confident that it will be in the next few hours,” she said.

She told staff of different departments have been deployed in response to the different contingencies in the capital city. They are guaranteeing the supply of water and food with priority for the network of public hospitals.

The mayor highlighted the “extraordinary example of calm and sanity” of the Venezuelan people in “overcoming the difficulties.”

“They thought (the executioners of the sabotage) that we were going to fight amongst ourselves, but our people have gone for a walk, they have come out to enjoy themselves, there is a stress situation, but it is not stress that will generate violence,” she said.

The mayor said: Venezuela is setting an example to the world of “how terrorist aggression by the most powerful empire can be defeated” in “a perfect union of mayors, governors, armed forces, organized popular power, all to maintain peace.”

Measures to deal with electricity outage

 Venezuela’s government on Monday announced four measures to deal with a electricity-sabotage that has plunged the country in darkness since late Thursday.

Ricardo Menendez, the Venezuelan Planning Minister, said the moves aim to ensure that public services, like health care and delivery of food baskets, continue despite the crippling power outage.

In an interview with Caracas-based television network teleSUR, Menendez said the first step aims to closely monitor the functioning of medical services.

The second and third measures aim to ensure the delivery of gas and water via tanker trucks to households around the country.

The fourth step aims to guarantee the continuity of the country’s CLAP program, which delivers staple foods to households.

Menendez said the strategy to sow discontent failed, describing the attitude of solidarity and civic-mindedness of the people that has prevailed during the electricity outage as “heroic”.

The outage has led to millions of dollars in losses due to lost productivity, he said.

Caracas, the capital, was calm despite more than three days without electricity and now a diminishing water supply, as a result of the electricity outage. There were few people and vehicles in the streets, mainly due to the government’s decision to close schools and government offices.

Caracas residents had a few hours of electricity supply, which was snapped by a blast early Monday morning at an electricity substation in central Miranda state. The blast knocked the power out again.

Miranda Governor Hector Rodriguez said, electricity supply resumed in 80 percent of the state, “however, the system is still unstable”.

He urged people to continue to take precautionary measures.

Venezuela opens border crossing with Colombia

5:00 am Monday: students began crossing the border bridges between Colombia and Venezuela to attend school. Photo: @PortellateleSUR

The Venezuelan government announced the opening of a humanitarian corridor on its border with Colombia to allow passage for students who live one side but go to school in the other one, and for citizens that need medical attention. Beyond this, the rest of the border remains closed.

The instruction to open the corridor was given by President Maduro. The order came into effect Monday at 5:00 am local time.

Hundreds of students traveled to their schools over the two main bridges – Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander – located in the bordering Tachira state.

The border has been closed since February 22 when the Venezuelan government determined that there were threats to national security coming from the Colombian side, and after the Colombian government openly supported the unauthorized attempts of USAID supplies to enter Venezuela. The attempt failed.

UN technical mission for human rights in Caracas

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza received the technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), headed by Michelle Bachelet, on Monday.

The minister indicated that the meeting was conducive to “coordination and information on human rights policies and social protection in Venezuela.”

He also informed that the members of the mission would visit government institutions and all its branches.

Rubio blasts socialism in Venezuela

Marco Rubio, the Republican Florida Senator, slammed socialism in response to Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders not denouncing President Maduro. Rubio offered Bernie Sanders, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, an economics lesson.

Responding to video journalist Nicholas Ballasy’s question Rubio said, Sanders has “been friendly towards governments that pursue socialist policies” while explaining that what’s happening in Venezuela is “socialism overlaid with graft and corruption of an extraordinary level.”

“Socialism always fails but when you add corruption on top of that it becomes catastrophic,” Rubio said.

“[U]ltimately the door socialism falls apart is … as Thatcher once said, you run out of other people’s money, and that’s what happened in Venezuela,” Rubio concluded. “They took the wealth of the country. They expropriated it all. They spent it on ventures abroad and programs at home and once they ran out of money, it was total collapse.”

Rubio avoided the facts – achievements the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela has so far made for improving life of the poor people, the heavy economic costs the Venezuelan people are paying due to imperialist economic war against Venezuela, and Thatcher’s anti-working class steps that led people to call the British prime minister as milk snatcher. Rubio also avoided mentioning poverty, inequality, homelessness, prison population, gun violence, and government shut down in his country.

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