Venezuela in the Dark

By Marco Teruggi on March 8, 2019, from Caracas

Ed Note: On Saturday March 9, two rallies took place in the city of Caracas, one called by the self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido, who,speaking through a megaphone, called for a new mobilization in Caracas, but didn’t say when, and another one in support of President Nicolás Maduro who spoke in front of the Miraflores Palace. He reported on the chronology of the five attacks to their electrical system designed by the United States, the internal right, in complicity with what he called “infiltrators in the company”.

At 5 p.m. on Thursday, almost all of Venezuela was left in the dark. Electricity was cut in 22 of the 24 provinces, which brought with it, cuts in many of the telephone and transportation communications. The first to report for the government was the Minister of Electricity, Motta Dominguez, who denounced the blackout as an attack on the “generation and transmission unit in Bolívar, specifically in Guri, the backbone of the country’s electricity.

Then the minister of communication, Jorge Rodriguez, announced that “the criminal intention was to subject the Venezuelan people to several days without electricity supply in order to abuse and mistreat them”. President Nicolás Maduro, for his part, focused responsibility on “the electric war announced and led by U.S. imperialism. The darkness was total in the Caracas night, some candles, phones with batteries, generators, stars, the streets were in total solitude.

At dawn on Friday, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez declared a non-working, non-school day. According to official sources, the attack hit simultaneously about ten generators and distribution facilities in different points of the Guri system, and, along with that, were cyber-attacks to the computer system to prevent the electrical system to re boot.

The country awoke in uncertainty, in the neighborhoods of Caracas people went out early to look for ways to go to work, or stop at the door of their homes to talk among neighbors to gather available information; few people had telephone service to receive messages. The city was quiet, almost all shops were kept closed, and Plaza Bolívar, for example, became a meeting point for those seeking information.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was one of the first opposition to announce the blackout: “Maduro’s regime is a disaster,” he tweeted. Juan Guaidó, for his part, wrote that “Venezuela is clear that the light comes with Maduro leaving power,” and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “There is no food, no medicine, now there is no electricity, the next, there will be no Maduro”.

The national opposition focused its denunciations on the electricity system, the crisis of the infrastructure, the thefts that, they claimed, are carried out with the complicity of the authorities. The national power cut, which lasted more than 20 hours, would have been the responsibility of the government and its electricity policy according to them.

This is not the first time that there has been power cuts in the country and there has been acts of sabotage on electrical installations that were denounced as such by the authorities. On the other hand, it is the first time that this has happened in such coordination and magnitude. It comes in a political framework where the possibility of acts of sabotage was already anticipated as part of an imperial pattern to create chaos and attrition on the will of the population.

In the early afternoon, the system began to partially and progressively re-establish itself in different parts of the country and in Caracas. One of the fears was that the cut would continue until the country was once again in darkness, which could open the way for the emergence of violent groups such as those that were activated during the week of January 21.

Chavismo, for its part, needs to prevent and stabilize both the political situation and, above all, the economic situation. Its main strengths – mobilization, leadership, unity and the Bolivarian National Armed Force – remain seamless.

Source: Pagina 12, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau