Venezuela entered the third day of the most severe blackout in its history, as much of the country continues to suffer from lack of electrical power after a failure at the Guri electrical plant on Thursday afternoon plunged the country into darkness.
While the county’s electrical grid appeared to be recovering earlier this morning, Netblocks detected another major failure at around noon local time:
According to Netblocks, today’s failure affected more of the country that Thursday’s.
As of the writing of this update (7:00 PM local time) virtually every urban centre in the country is still affected by the blackout.
Earlier today, a healthcare NGO called CODEVIDA announced that it had received reports that 15 dialysis patients had died as a direct result of the blackout. The news came from CODEVIDA director Francisco Valencia, who said that nine of the deaths came from Zulia state, two from Trujillo state, and four from Caracas.
Guaido Heads Rally in Caracas
Despite the blackout, residents of Caracas took to the streets to attend a rally hosted by Juan Guaido, who called for the demonstration back on March 4.
Speaking at the rally point on the Victoria avenue, Guaido warned supporters that “hard days are coming”, and that the Maduro regime would try to divide the opposition.
In what was arguably the most dramatic statement of the rally, Guaido that the opposition was “focused” on following the Constitution in its quest to remove Maduro from power, including “187, when the time comes”.
Article 187 of the Constitution outlines the National Assembly’s powers. With his comment, Guaido was almost certainly referencing Article 187(11), which gives the National Assembly the power to approve foreign military missions in Venezuela.
Guaido also announced that he would travel around Venezuela to help plan a massive demonstration in Caracas, the date of which he did not announce.
Below, a video of Guaido speaking to the crowd in Caracas today:
The videos below captured the moment that Guaido arrived at the rally point:
There were rallies in other parts of Venezuela today.
Below, images from the demonstration in Barquisimeto, Lara state:
In Cumana, Sucre state:
Somewhere in Vargas state:
Maduro Speaks for First Time Since Blackout Began:
Maduro spoke to the country today for the first time since the blackout began, but provided few credible details on the cause of the event or on the government’s efforts to restore service.
During a rally in Caracas, Maduro spoke about what he claims was the cause of the blackout. While suggesting that “moles” inside the state-run electrical company were responsible for sabotaging the country’s electrical grid, he also suggested that the attack came from outside of the country via sophisticated means.
Maduro explained that while the government was well on its way to restoring service just an hour after Thursday’s blackout, the country suffered another attack. He said:
We [had] started the maneuvers [to restore service]. At around 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, the process to restore [electricity] in the country was underway normally. Then, suddenly, we received an attack–and international cyber-attack against the brain of our electrical company. The whole restoration process was knocked down automatically. The national [electrical?] transmission process was affected.
Maduro went on to say:
The machines, the computers, the brains–I’m going to talk about this for the first time. I’m going to say as much as I’m allowed to say, because we’re right in the middle of the investigation [process] because there are a lot of infiltrators attacking the electrical company. That’s what I’m saying. Just as it happened during the oil strike, the oil sabotage of 2002, 2003. But rest assured that those moles who have infiltrated [CORPOELEC] will be investigated, discovered and punished as examples, according to national justice [sic].
The second process of manual re-connection began immediately. We hadn’t yet clearly determined by the computerized brain [sic] and its different components had been left completely off. But we started a re-connection process [thanks to] the knowledge of our electrical workers, our professionals. The east of the country was the first [region] that we re-connected: Bolivar, Monagas. Anzoategui, Nueva Esparta, part of Sucre. Delta Amacuro.
Then, [power came back to] Miranda and Caracas. And when it was 1:00 AM on March 8 [and] we were re-connecting Caracas to move on to the central and western [regions] of the country, there was a new attack. Another attack. At that time, we had the investigations teams spread out across the whole field, with the generating and transmission lines, heading south and west. That’s when we discovered at that time that they were launching absolutely high scientific generation [sic] attacks. High-technology [attacks]. That’s what our experts call “electromagnetic attacks” against our transmission lines.
Maduro did not provide any evidence for his claims.
Below, more pictures from the PSUV rally:
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