Much of the country is still without electrical service nearly 26 hours after a catastrophic failure at the Guri hydroelectric plant knocked the station offline, plunging virtually all of the country into darkness. The blackout has now made history in the Venezuela as the most severe that the country has every experienced.
While Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez promised shortly after the blackout began yesterday that power would be restored within three hours, Venezuelans around the country woke up this morning to find themselves still without electrical service.
As of the writing of this update (approximately 9:45 PM local time), the majority of the country is still in the dark. Service has returned sporadically to sections of Caracas and Miranda state, but there does not appear to be any section of the city that has reliable electrical service at this time.
Maduro has been noticeably absent from the developing crisis, tweeting only once today:
My full support goes towards the personnel from the National Electrical Service who are working intensively to restore service. I admire the people of Venezuela who are bravely resisting against this new attack from the enemies of the Homeland. We will be victorious!
The Maduro regime maintains that the outage is the result of sabotage from the United States. It has yet to provide any evidence to back up this claim.
The government doubled down on this line today, as PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello said the following in a tweet:
Imperialism and its allies have attacked our electrical system, leaving chavistas and opposition [supporters] both without power, the imperialist mouthpieces are openly celebrating, we should prepare to continue to resit and fight, they cannot and We Will Win! [sic]
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez also blamed the United States for the blackout, and said that it was “the most brutal aggression against the Venezuelan people in 200 years”. Rodriguez also said that the regime would “file an international complaint” over the blackout, but it is not clear exactly what the complaint will be or to whom.
Rodriguez also repeated a claim he made yesterday in which he misused the word “cybernetic”, saying:
They launched a cybernetic [sic] attack against the Automated Control System.
Below, the definition of the word “cybernetic”:
the study of human control functions and of mechanical and electronic systems designed to replace them, involving the application of statistical mechanics to communication engineering.
It is possible that Rodriguez is meaning to say “cyber” instead of “cybernetic”.
El Pitazo: Blackout Started By Overgrown Vegetation Fire
El Pitazo reported this afternoon that an anonymous source inside CORPOELEC said that the blackout was started after a vegetation fire knocked out 765 kilowatt transmission lines that connect the Guri hydroelectric plant with a substation to the west called Malena.
According to the source, the vegetation was so overgrown that it covered the transmission lines, and that the fire knocked out three lines. The source also claims that the vegetation was last trimmed last year.
El Aissami, Three Others Indicted by U.S. Court
Former vice president Tarek El Aissami was indicted today by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on five charges relating to the violation and/or evasion of sanctions placed against him by the United States Department of the Treasury.
The indictment alleges that El Aissami “worked together with others in an effort to violate or evade sanctions” that were placed on him by the U.S. government on February 13 2017 over his alleged involvement in drug trafficking operations. The sanctions, among other prohibitions, banned any U.S. entity from conducting business with El Aissami.
According to the indictment, El Aissami used the help of three individuals to violate the sanctions. More specifically, the indictment alleges that El Aissami moved money to and from U.S. entities through these individuals to book chartered flights to places like Russia, Turkey, and the Dominican Republic.
El Aissami’s accomplices–which the indictment names as defendants–are Samark Jose Lopez Bello, Victor Mones Coro, and Alejandro Miguel Leon Maal.
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