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9 Mar, 2019 10:14

Venezuela’s minister says major power outage likely caused by ‘cyberattack’, points finger at US

Venezuela’s minister says major power outage likely caused by ‘cyberattack’, points finger at US

A cyber-attack is likely the reason for the major blackout that left most of Venezuela in darkness, a Maduro government official said, hinting that the US may be involved in the offensive.

As Venezuela is still reeling from a nationwide blackout, Nicolas Maduro’s government says the emergency was the result of an external influence. The major power outage was likely prompted by a cyber-attack against the Guri hydroelectric plant which produces 80% of the country’s electricity, Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s communication and information minister said on Friday, according to local media.

The official went on to hint that US Senator and fierce anti-Maduro campaigner Marco Rubio may be linked to the offensive. Rodriguez found it suspicious that shortly after the failure Rubio shared specific information on Twitter about the emergency that even local authorities were not aware of at that time.

How did Marco Rubio know [of the attack] a few minutes later that the backup generators had failed? At that time, no one knew yet.

Branding the country-wide power outage “the most brutal attack on the Venezuelan people in 200 years,” the minister promised to file a complaint to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

President Nicolas Maduro earlier also raised suspicions of Washington standing behind the power outage as he accused the US of waging the “electricity war.” The country’s electric energy minister, for his part, said that “deliberate sabotage” on behalf of the US-backed opposition was the reason.

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Caracas and a number of other Venezuela’s cities were plunged into darkness on Thursday. The power outage shut the capital’s subway and left principal roads gridlocked as traffic lights were put out of order. The country’s largest international airport was also left without power. While power started to return to some parts of Caracas officials are so far unable to fully restore the supply.

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The blackout caught Venezuela amid a full-fledged political crisis as the country is split between the supporters of President Maduro and the opposition leader Juan Guaido. The latter – who enjoys the support of the US as well as most of the EU and Latin American countries – proclaimed himself an interim president back in January. In February, US President Donald Trump said he does not exclude military intervention in the conflict torn-country. Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and a number of other states have warned against meddling into Venezuela’s internal affairs.

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