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The Venezuelan electrical grid suffered a catastrophic failure today as 12 out of the country’s 23 states suffered power outages starting at 2:00 PM today. The affected states were Aragua, Miranda, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Monagas, Anzoategui, Yaracuy, Nueva Esparta, Guarico, and the Distrito Capital (Caracas).

Jesse Chacon, the country’s Ministry of Electrical Energy, spoke on the blackout today, and said:

Around 1:30 PM, 1:45 PM, there was a failure at one of our transmission lines in the Los Andes system that brought down the two big generation machines in Los Andes, which are Fabricio Ojeda and San Agaton. This fluctuation brought about as a consequence that the the machines at Tacoa in the capital region were also brought down.

Chacon explained that as a result of the blackout, “restrictions” on energy consumption were being placed temporarily in several regions of the country, including Caracas, the system could be brought up to full strength. By around 3:30 PM, the electrical system had recovered 100%.

Pressure on Chacon to Resign

On April 25 of last year, Chacon held a press conference in which he assured Venezuelans that his office was unveiling a 100-day plan to upgrade the Venezuelan electrical system. On that day, Chacon stated simply:

… if in 100 days we have not achieved the goals we’re setting out, this man right here will resign, and I’ll make way for someone who can do a better job than me.

Today’s colossal blackout comes 519 days after Chacon’s promise to resign if he was not able to improve the country’s electrical system.

Angry Venezuelans took to Twitter today to express their frustration with the minister, calling him “inept”, “shameless” and “a liar”.

Maduro Speaks at U.N. General Assembly

Maduro gave a speech today at the United Nation’s 69th General Assembly. A video showing his speech’s highlights, followed by my translation, can be seen below:

I want to thank the United Nations General Assembly and all of its governments, the different organizations of the United Nations system, for the honour that was simultaneously bestowed at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Geneva and other parts of the world, to Commander Hugo Chavez – extraordinary human being! – who also raised the flags of peace, equality, respect to our people. It’s the first thing I want to say on behalf of the people of Venezuela.
If we examine the history of humanity, it is the history of empires and the eternal fight for splitting riches and the territories of the world. It’s only with the creation of this system in 1945, when, in the distance, in the future, we can see a light at the end of a long tunnel of war, battles, and global conflict.

(…)

The security council has to be reorganized. It must be expanded. Today, the role played by the different regions is too different from what it was in 1945. It’s another world. If the United Nations was born to work through the themes of the post-war reconstruction, today the United Nations has to adapt itself to a multi-polar, multicentric world, with new actors in the world (…) We believe in strengthening the office of the secretary general, as has been suggested so many times. The institutional political weight of the secretary general [must] represent us all. A secretary general’s office that knows how to listen to everyone, and that looks for peace and solutions to conflicts.

(…)

In the beginning of the 21st century, Latin American has assumed its role. New organizations have sprung up in Latin America. We are disposed, on December 14, to commemorate in Havana, Cuba – heroic island of our great homeland – the 10 year anniversary of the Bolivarian alliance of American states. It has come to take an important role in the construction of a new social model, economic (…) A new world is possible. We are demonstrating this in our America. The rise of the Union de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR. A new regionalism in the south. Founded on April 17, 2007 with the participation of the new leadership of Latin America. Our Commander, Hugo Chavez, was there.

(…)

Let it not be forgotten in this hall here in New York, the general clamour towards a reorganization of the United Nations. Let’s find a way! We want to ratify the Bolivarian Republic…

(…)

… all the harm that it’s done the people of Cuba for the past 50 years. President Barack Obama, when will the opportunity come for you to become part of history by lifting, once and for all, the criminal economic – and the persecution! – against our sister, Cuba? 

(…)

The rise of these fondos huitres (?) is very dangerous. And we give all our solidarity to our sister nation, Argentina, and dare I say, so do the people of the Latin America and the Caribbean.

(…)

… because the United Nations [should] support more warmly, more closely, and make the decisions that force the United States of America to carry out a de-colonization process in Puerto Rico count. Puerto Rico, it has been decided, should be invited to join us [the organization of Latin American states] because Puerto Rico is from the Caribbean, it’s from Latin America. Puerto Rico is ours.

(…)

That’s why I want to bring up the name of a man who’s been in jail for 35 years, submitted to abuse – him and his family. A man just like us, a man from the Caribbean, from Puerto Rico. I’m talking about Oscar Lopez Rivera, the longest-held political prisoner in the world. We demand his immediate release.

(…)

… the fulfilment of the millennium goals. I can tell you that in our Venezuelan homeland, in Commander Chavez’s Bolivarian Venezuelan, fortunately, after a great effort, Venezuela has achieved practically all of its millennium goals.

(…)

The Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, will decidedly contribute a sum of 5 million dollars to support our Africa [to fight Ebola], which means to support the neediest people in the world.

(…)

Peace. Total peace. Our organization must be reorganization to find total peace between us all.The threat of the use of force, or the use of force, nor the internal conspiracy to overthrow government like the one I preside over, what will take us to a stable peace. No! It’s the respect to international rights that will take us to stable peace, total security.

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