The mainstream media in America can not be trusted, Period.
I noticed an article from The Daily Mail (UK) trending on Voat this evening and was shocked to learn that the story is actually months old, and not shocked to find that only a handful of conservative sites covered the story. It seems that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife (Chirlane McCray) headed a taxpayer funded project called ThriveNYC and now she can not, or will not, account for $850 million in taxpayer money.
There are dozens of SHTF scenarios that people are preparing for. Some of them can seem quite silly and very unlikely, but most of them have at least some legitimacy. So what should you be preparing for? When getting started, I always recommend my clients apply the age-old philosophy, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best!” At the same time, balance the worst-case scenario with what is most likely to happen.
If you were to ask most threat assessment experts, the worst case scenario would be a full-scale nuclear war with Russia or China. On the flipside of this threat is the fact that it is unlikely to happen in the near future. While I know that many people who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis may vehemently disagree with me, most experts say the possibility of that happening in today’s political climate is very slim. Besides, there isn’t much you can do to prepare for a surprise nuclear bomb being dropped on your head and there wouldn’t be very many places you could go to live and still avoid the worldwide radioactive fallout that would ensue.
The next worst case scenario would be the electric grid going down for an extended period of time as a result of a massive solar flare, EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack, or physical/cyber attack. Most Americans have never even heard of the EMP threat and almost every American assumes that electricity will magically flow into their houses without interruption forever. You can’t really blame them, that’s all they have ever known. Without the homesteading skills of the last century and no way to transport food around the country, most Americans would die within a year of losing electricity
I know that some of you are planning for a massive financial collapse, major pandemic, and other SHTF scenarios. While I agree that those are very legitimate scenarios in our country’s future, the effect on everyday survival is not nearly as catastrophic as losing the electric grid. In those circumstances, you still have the ability to go shopping, use the phone, and drive your car, etc. (at least for the first couple of weeks/months). I challenge you to research how likely it is we’ll lose the electric grid in the near future. In fact, it’s amazing it hasn’t happened already. Admiral Rogers is the Commander of the US Cyber Command. You need to watch his testimony he gave to Congress a few months ago on our infrastructure’s vulnerability. I will sum up Admiral Rogers’s testimony in a few short sentences for you in the meantime… America’s critical infrastructure (including the electric grid) is completely vulnerable to attack by multiple enemy nations and groups who ALREADY have the knowledge and the ability to literally “flip the switch” on our electric grid at any time. It is his biggest fear as the Commander of US Cyber Command and he fears a traumatic attack in the very near future which will result in a massive loss of life and property….. If you have never looked into the vulnerability of America’s electric grid, I challenge you to do your own research.
So what’s the big deal with losing the electric grid?
When Americans do lose electricity for an evening, it is an irritating adventure in most households with Mom and Dad scrambling to find a flashlight so they can find the candles packed away in some dingy box in the basement. The baby is crying because she is scared of the dark. Little Suzy is trying to comfort the baby but is irritated because she was in the middle of sending an email to her BFF. Little Johnny is angry because he didn’t get a chance to save the video game he was playing. Dad curses as he stubs his toe on the bed looking for the flashlight. Eventually, things calm down and the family votes on a board game to play until the lights come back on. Three hours later, the lights mysteriously come back on and the family scatters from the kitchen table. Mom heads back to the kitchen to finish the dishes while dad plops back down in front of the college football game. Suzy and Johnny run back to their rooms and zone out on their electronic devices, while the baby plays alone in her playpen. Sadly, the board game sits unfinished on the dining room table along with the first meaningful conversation the family has had in months. Unless you live in rural Alaska, this is probably your idea of “the grid going down.”
When I tell people that we could easily lose the electric grid for more than a year, their eyes typically glaze over and they nod their head thinking back to the last time the power went out at their house. They have no clue that their ENTIRE life completely revolves around electricity. Most Americans (especially kids) have never even pondered what life would be like without electricity because it’s always just been there. It’s almost unfathomable. They don’t realize the absolute death, destruction, mayhem, starvation, murder, looting, raping, and pillaging that would ensue within weeks after the grid goes down.
The fact is, most American’s just can’t connect the dots from Point A to Point C because they don’t understand why this would be any different than 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, The Great Depression, etc…. “This is America! We’ll work together as we’ve always done!” That is typically true in a localized disaster when everyone’s belly is full and FEMA is mobilizing and coming to the rescue. But if the national electric grid goes down, there is no one coming to help because the rescuers, government, and military are in the same boat as you with no electricity to function. Once true starvation sets into the general population and with no help in sight, it will quickly become every man for himself.
Before I try and paint a picture for you of what life would be like after the grid goes dark, you need to understand why we could lose it so easily. The electric grid in this country is very vulnerable and its Achilles heel is the HV (High Voltage) Transformer. HV transformers are essential for the grid to operate because they are what step up and step down the power into usable loads. What this means is that you can’t take your toaster oven and connect it directly to the large High Voltage (HV) power line exiting the Nuclear Power Plant because your toaster would blow up. The high voltages existing power plants typically travel large distances to another HV transformer which steps down the power into usable loads. It is then stepped down again at a distribution substation before being sent on your local power lines where it will be stepped down once more (by the smaller transformers you see on the power poles) and sent into your home at usable load. There are currently over 2,200 HV transformers across the United States.
The HV transformers are massive, typically weighing between 200 and 400 tons each. They are unique to each substation and must be custom-built to spec. America’s HV transformers are made overseas and take between 6 to 18 months to build and deliver, assuming there are no back orders on the raw materials they need. The transportation logistics are also extreme with special rail cars, cranes, and trailers needed to haul the heavy load. Power lines need to be moved and each bridge they cross has to be inspected before crossing. These transportation logistics can sometimes add months onto the lead time of replacing one of these HV transformers. Imagine the logistics of moving a transformer with no police escort, no one to inspect the bridges and massive traffic jams of “out of gas” cars blocking the roads.
Why is this information important? This information is important because most of the threats to the electric grid could easily take out 300+ transformers at once. A Super EMP attack would likely take out all of them. If the electric grid were taken down in the US, then the few manufacturers in the US that technically “could” produce the HV transformers wouldn’t have electricity for their factories and all the transformers would still have to come from overseas. Even if ramping up production, electricity wouldn’t be restored before 6 months at the earliest and most of the country would still be without power for more than a year.
Most government and media reports acknowledge that looting and rioting would be rampant but choose to focus on the “trillions” of dollars it would cost in commerce and the cost to repair the grid. The problem with this scenario is that social order would break down within a week of losing the grid and a total societal collapse would be inevitable within a month once people really started to starve. Most experts believe between 6 and 9 out of every ten Americans would die the first year due to starvation and sickness. America as we know it wouldn’t survive six months without electricity, so who’s going to be around to fix the grid and who are they fixing it for? I predict the government would focus on getting the power restored to important cities and military bases first and most of rural America could go years before seeing power.
Washington is growing increasingly desperate as its coup efforts go further south in Venezuela…
The failure of the February 23 “humanitarian aid” provocation on the Venezuelan border was a serious blow for Trump’s ongoing coup attempt. There were mutual recriminations between self-appointed Guaidó, Colombian President Duque and US Vice-President Pence. The US could not get a consensus from its own Lima Cartel allies in favour of military intervention.
The coup was losing momentum. Then, on March 7, just days after Guaidó’s anti-climactic return to Caracas, the country was plunged into a nationwide blackout from which it has not yet fully recovered. What caused it? How is it related to the “regime change” attempt? And, most importantly, what are imperialism’s plans and how can they be fought?
February 23 was supposed to be the coup’s D-Day. The idea was never to actually deliver “humanitarian aid” into the country, but rather to create a “people’s power” moment, where large crowds of opposition supporters on both sides of the border defied the Venezuelan armed forces, which, when faced with a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators, would then switch sides and join Trump’s puppet, Juan Guaidó. On the day, however, things did not go according to Washington’s plan. The crowds of opposition supporters did not materialise in the expected numbers. “Aid” trucks did not cross the border and by the end of the day, Rubio, Abrams and Guaidó were left with egg all over their faces.
They made a big story about “Maduro burning the aid trucks” at the Santander bridge on the Colombian border. US officials even insisted this justified military intervention under the Geneva Convention. Never mind the fact that the Convention only applies in cases of war, the fact is that the aid truck that was burned was set on fire by a “peaceful” opposition supporter throwing a molotov cocktail at the Venezuelan border guards. Several media outlets (teleSUR, RT) explained that this was the case right from the beginning and even produced video footage to prove it. That did not stop US officials like Marco Rubio and John Bolton from blaming Maduro and the chorus of the world’s bourgeois mass media from parroting the lie:
Now, two weeks too late, even the New York Times has been forced to admit that “one [Venezuelan government] claim that appears to be backed up by video footage is that the protesters started the fire.” The same NY Timesinvestigation also concludes that the Venezuelan government was right in saying the US and the opposition were lying about the trucks containing medicine: “the claim about a shipment of medicine, too, appears to be unsubstantiated, according to videos and interviews.”
The admission by the NY Times, though it is unlikely to be covered as widely as the initial false reports, is very significant. We knew the US was lying, right from the beginning, as there was proof. Now it has been forced to admit it. This should provide a salutary lesson for the next time the US or its Venezuelan opposition make any outrageous claims about the “Maduro regime.” The lesson is: “question everything Washington and the mass media tell you about a government they want to overthrow.”
That evening, as if on cue, the Venezuelan opposition social media operation started to explode with the hashtag #IntervencionMilitarYA (#MilitaryInterventionNOW), aimed at putting pressure on the US and its allies to launch a military intervention in the country. The campaign is very revealing as to the character of the opposition (pro-imperialist and traitors to their own country), but also as to the morale of their ranks (they do not think they are the agents of “change” but rather invest all their hopes in Trump).
Having been defeated on February 23, the meeting of the Lima Group of countries in Bogotá the following morning was a further setback. Let us remember that the Lima Group (more accurately known as the “Lima Cartel”) is an ad-hoc group of countries created with the explicit aim of overthrowing the Venezuelan government when the US could not get enough votes at the Organisation of American States for its bellicose resolutions. Before the meeting even started, there were public statements by Chile, Brazil and Paraguay explicitly ruling out military intervention.
The case of Brazil is noteworthy because there is a major split within Bolsonaro’s cabinet, and between him and the Armed Forces. Under pressure from the generals and his own vice-president, General Hamilton Mourão, the far-right president has been forced to retreat from several of his public statements, specifically, support for the transfer of the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem and granting the US army access to a military base in Brazil. When the Lima Group decided in January to cut off all contact with the Venezuelan armed forces, the Brazilians kept communication lines open. The Brazilian army went as far as vetoing the presence of US soldiers in the border with Venezuela as part of the so-called “humanitarian aid” operation on 23 February.
Contrary to the attitude of the Colombian state, which turned a blind eye and even helped the opposition rioters on the border with Venezuela, the Brazilians contained them and prevented clashes. The reason is not that the Brazilian generals are in any way progressive, nor that they stand by the principle of sovereignty, but rather they understand that any major conflict in Venezuela, including the possibility of a civil war, could have a major impact on Brazil, with which it shares a large and inhospitable border. The last thing the Brazilian generals want is accidentally getting sucked into a major armed conflict in Venezuela, which they know would not be a simple affair.
Faced with such reluctance, the Bogotá meeting on 25 February ended with a statement that used strong words of condemnation and issued unspecified threats, but did not contain any serious commitment to the next steps in the “regime change” operation. The US announced the inclusion of a few more Venezuelan officials on their sanctions list, including four regional governors. Hardly the “military intervention now” that the opposition demanded.
Media reports have talked of recriminations from Mike Pence (who had cut off his trip to South Korea to attend the meeting) to Guaidó. According to one report, Pence told Guaidó that “everything was failing in the offensive against the chavista regime, the biggest complaint was because of the continued loyalty of the armed forces to Maduro.” Apparently, Guaidó had promised the US that if they were to get “the main world leaders to recognise him… at least half of the high ranking officers would defect. It didn’t happen.” The other main criticism was regarding the Venezuelan opposition’s appraisal that Maduro’s “social base had disintegrated. The crisis revealed that support for the government has in fact diminished, but is not inexistent”.
Of course, one should take such reports with a pinch of salt as sources are not quoted. However, the general frustration of the US with the Venezuelan coup is very real and makes this particular report plausible. Another reportin the Wall Street Journal talked of Chilean President Piñera and Colombian President Duque also being angry at Guaidó at the meeting:
“The opposition had publicly sold the plan by promising that an outpouring of Venezuelans on both sides of the border would link up, Mr. Maduro’s security forces would back down and truckloads of aid would enter for hungry Venezuelans. ‘I think they built up expectations that weren’t carried out,’ said an opposition operative who was familiar with the discussions. ‘They built up that there was going to be more aid, that it would get in. And that the military would rise up. And it didn’t happen that way.’”
The WSJ article is quite detailed:
“‘As time passed, [Piñera] kept asking Guaidó where are the people who are coming from the other side?’ said the person. The responses weren’t satisfactory, he added. ‘Everything failed: coordination, information, organization,’ said a senior Latin American official.”
The picture painted here is of an angry exchange in which all blamed Guaidó, when in reality Washington is responsible for the whole design of the coup. The US officials in charge of the coup were so frustrated that they started a completely ridiculous polemic against the media (CNN included), which had started to described Guaidó as “self-proclaimed” or “leader of the opposition” as opposed to giving him the title of “the interim president,” a title that Washington had worked so hard to create:
The hawks in Trump’s administration – Bolton, Pompeo and Abrams – made a series of fatal miscalculations.
First, they assumed Maduro had no support whatsoever, underestimating the strength of anti-imperialist feeling in the face of a brazen US coup attempt, and the fact that, while support for Chavismo has diminished, it still managed to get over 30 percent of the census to vote for Maduro a year ago. Moreover, in the last few weeks, there has been a series of impressive, anti-imperialist mass rallies led by Diosdado Cabello in all states in the country.
Second, they thought that the opposition was able to mobilise large numbers of people who are prepared to go all the way in an open clash with the government. In fact, the opposition ranks, having been betrayed by their own leaders in 2017 and defeated in their previous attempts in 2013 and 2014, are distrustful of the opposition leaders and sceptical about their own ability to remove the government they hate. They have put all their illusions and hopes in a US-led military intervention and that is a state of mind which can produce a large rally (for instance on January 23) but not a sustained mobilisation to overthrow Maduro.
The failure of February 23 furthermore left Guaidó abroad, in Colombia. He thought he would come back victorious, at the head of a US convoy of “humanitarian aid,” but found himself having violated a court order not to leave the country and stranded in Bogotá. He started a short tour of Latin America, on board a Colombian plane, but soon the US called him to order. He discarded a plan to continue his tour in Europe and was told in no uncertain terms that he had to return to Venezuela as “he was losing momentum.”
Again, Abrams, Bolton and Rubio attempted to build up Guaidó’s return as another D-Day, baiting Maduro to arrest him on arrival in order to build a casus belli for foreign intervention. It resulted in another flop. Guaidó returned on March 4, the assembled EU ambassadors received him at the airport and then he went to a rally in the east of Caracas… But to his disappointment and that of his minders in the US, he was not arrested (although he should have been arrested, there were plenty of reasons to do so). Blackout
Then came the blackout. Starting on Thursday, March 7, just before 5pm, a major power failure affected 18 out of the country’s 23 states and the Capital District. In Caracas, the Metro stopped working and tens of thousands had to walk their way home, in the dark. After a few hours it became clear that this was a major incident and power would not be restored quickly. The government decreed Friday a national holiday.
The country’s main electricity generator, the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric plant, known as El Guri Dam, had crashed. El Guri produces about 80 percent of the country’s electricity and restoring it is a delicate operation. It is now more than four days since the initial incident and power is only slowly being restored in many parts of the country. Over the weekend, on several occasions, electricity was returned to different parts of the country, only to be switched off again.
The situation is serious. The government decreed another holiday for March 11 and 12. Back-up electricity generators keep power supply to essential installations, like hospitals, but there are serious problems with public transport. Shops do not accept card payments and many have increased prices and resorted to only accepting payment in dollars. There are also problems with the water supply, telecommunications (phone and internet) are very intermittent, and food stored in fridges and freezers risks being lost, etc.
The government has blamed the blackout on sabotage at El Guri and of course Washington and the opposition have been quick to reject such idea, blaming the power cut on a wildfire affecting the 765Kv power line between El Guri and the Malena substation. This would have brought down the power line and then in turn triggered a security stoppage at the El Guri Hydro plant. However, the opposition have produced no actual evidence of such a fire and the New York Times correspondent Anatoly Kurmanaev has rejected this hypothesis:
The government’s claim is that there was a cyberattack against the system that controls the El Guri turbines and regulates power generation and supply down the 765KV line to Malena. The government has also declared that, when power was restored on Saturday, March 9, there was another such attack, and that these attacks have been carried out by US imperialism.
For those tempted to dismiss these accusations as a “conspiracy theory,” let us look at the following facts. First, the US and the mass media blatantly lied about the burning of the “aid” truck just two weeks ago. Furthermore, what credibility has Marco Rubio got? On March 10, he tweeted there had been an explosion at a “German Dam,” when in reality a Venezuelan opposition journalist by the name of Germán Dam had reported an explosion at a power substation.
In an even more callous twist, Rubio “reported” 80 babies having died at a hospital in Maracaibo due to the blackout, only to be corrected by the chief of the Wall Street Journal South America Bureau: the hospital had recorded no neonatal deaths. None. Zero. Ninguna. Why should we believe anythingthese people say?
Secondly, such an attack is possible and has been carried out before, even on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems that are not online. For those interested, just look up the US-and-Israeli-made Stuxnet virus, which was used to attack Iran’s nuclear power programme in 2010. That virus specifically attacked Siemens control systems, like many of those that run the El Guri turbines. An article in Forbes by a specialist admits:
“In the case of Venezuela, the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic... Given the U.S. government's longstanding concern with Venezuela’s government, it is likely that the U.S. already maintains a deep presence within the country's national infrastructure grid, making it relatively straightforward to interfere with grid operations. The country’s outdated internet and power infrastructure present few formidable challenges to such operations and make it relatively easy to remove any traces of foreign intervention. Widespread power and connectivity outages like the one Venezuela experienced last week are also straight from the modern cyber playbook” [my emphasis].
While the article in the end says a different scenario is highly likely, it nevertheless highlights “the inability to definitively discount U.S. or other foreign intervention.”
Third, there is the matter of timing. The coup was stalling. Guaidó had returned to the country but was clearly losing momentum. What better time to implement a major attack on the electricity grid, to demonstrate that the government is not in control, turn the population against the government and further intensify the propaganda about “humanitarian crisis” and “chaos”? Minutes after the outage was reported, Rubio, Bolton and Guaidó were already furiously and callously tweeting blame for the government and almost gloating at peoples’ suffering. The blackout has also taken place just days before the arrival of the EU International Contact Group mission which is to investigate in situ whether there is a “humanitarian crisis” or not. How convenient!
Of course, to any explanation of the blackout, its severity and its prolonged nature, we must add several other factors.
One is the fact that the Venezuelan grid has been starved of investment and maintenance for several years, something the left wing of the Bolivarian movement has discussed openly. The US is quick to point out this as the main cause, forgetting that sanctions have prevented the country from re-negotiating its foreign debt, which has sucked in an increasing amount of the country’s foreign reserves. We must add that the Maduro government has chosen to pay the foreign debt and hand over preferential dollars to the capitalists rather than use these reserves differently. This means that sabotage is taking place in a system that has already been weakened and therefore can be more easily damaged.
Another is the fact that thousands of workers have left their jobs in the industry as a result of the economic crisis which has destroyed completely the purchasing power of wages. The first to leave were the more experienced and highly skilled, precisely those who will be needed most now when it comes to bringing back a very delicate and finely tuned system. This process of abandonment was aggravated after the last currency conversion in August 2018, when the government destroyed collective bargaining and wage differentials in the public sector.
A third is that some of these problems would have been alleviated, or perhaps prevented, had the workers in the industry maintained the levels of workers’ control introduced during the Chavez government. Let us not forget that electricity workers at one point were at the forefront of the struggle for workers’ control, which was undone by the bureaucracy.
Finally, the more recent US sanctions on PDVSA have prevented Venezuela from importing and producing the fuel needed for the thermoelectric plants that should have provided a back up when El Guri Hydro went down. What next for imperialism?
The situation in Venezuela depends greatly on factors that are developing behind the scenes. It is impossible to say what is actually happening in the military barracks and in the officers’ quarters. The whole policy of US imperialism is designed to put pressure on them, by making the situation in the country unbearable, so that the generals perhaps draw the conclusion that their interests might be best served by removing Maduro from power. This is achieved by sanctions designed to hurt the economy. The latest development on this front are the threats issued by Bolton and Abrams to punish, not only US companies trading with PDVSA or the Venezuelan government, but also financial institutions in third countries. The aim is clear: to completely strangle the Venezuelan economy until it chokes the government into giving up. This is a criminal policy that is hurting the poor and workers of Venezuela first and foremost, completely discrediting the idea that Washington is at all concerned about an alleged “humanitarian crisis.”
As for the possibility of military intervention, it is clear that the US would like Latin American countries to front it, but there is no appetite in the Lima Group for military adventures, which can prove costly and damaging. That leaves the US with very few options, the main one being to increase the pressure, through sanctions, sabotage, provocations, etc. This much was admitted by Elliot Abrams in a conversation with two Russian pranksterswhen he thought he was talking to the Swiss president. He said: “We think it is a mistake tactically to give them endless reassurances that there will never be American military action. But I can tell you this is not what we are doing. What we are doing is exactly what you see, financial pressure, economic pressure, diplomatic pressure.”
To this we have to add the ideas likely harboured by some in the US administration about the creation of a “Free Venezuelan Army” and their “president” getting control of some territory (preferably close to the border, perhaps in Tachira), in a repeat of operations used in Syria and Libya. An article in Bloomberg has revealed that renegade Venezuelan former general Cliver Alcalá had a group of 200 armed men in Colombia ready to cross the border on 23 February, but he was stopped by the Colombians. Rubio has also played up the issue of military defectors and Guaidó met with a group of them in Cúcuta, praising them for “defecting” and warning that “we will have to cross back”.
There is also a sense of urgency for the likes of Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams and Rubio. They hoped for a quick resolution in this push for “regime change” back in January, but they failed. They probably calculate that they need a resolution well before the 2020 election in the US. Frustration and impatience only make them more dangerous and ready to deploy tricks they have not yet used.
As we have argued before, this ongoing imperialist coup attempt can only be fought back with revolutionary measures, striking blows against the coup plotters at home and their puppet masters abroad. That means arresting them and putting them on trial. Expropriating the coup-plotting oligarchy as well as the multinationals. Above all, the revolutionary organisation of the people from below needs to be strengthened by arming and developing the militias in every working-class neighbourhood, introducing workers control in all factories and workplaces and generally unleashing the revolutionary initiative of the masses.
Internationally, we need to continue and strengthen the campaign against our own imperialist governments in the US, the EU and the Lima Group countries, all of whom are, to one degree or another involved in this reactionary plot.
The massive outage in Venezuela was organized from the outside. This was stated at a briefing by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.
The diplomat noted that the attack on the country’s electric-energy sector was made from abroad. The attackers took advantage of the control and monitoring equipment of the main electrical distribution stations, which were produced in a western state.
“As I understand it, in Canada,” Zakharova clarified. The Foreign Ministry believes that the organizers of the sabotage are now responsible for the deaths of people.
“We hope that this responsibility will sooner or later take the form of a court sentence,” said Maria Zakharova.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced Wednseday that phase two of the country’s military exercises would begin as early as Friday.
Sputnik said local news reports show large-scale military exercises will start in 24 to 48 hours, will be used to secure the country’s power grids and water supply systems.
“This coming weekend, the military drills dubbed Ana Karina Rote are being resumed at their second stage,” Rodriguez was quoted on the state-run television on Wednseday. The first stage of the drills, dubbed Angostura, was held between February 10 and 15 to practice repelling an American invasion.
The news comes after Venezuela suffered a devastating blackout that left the country paralyzed. The crisis started on March 7 with a system failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant, which produces 80% of the country’s power.
Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said two people had been detained on suspicion of attempted sabotage of the country’s power system, adding that Washington carried out the attack.
President Maduro said the blackout is an “electric war announced and directed by American imperialism.”
He said electrical systems were targeted by cyber attacks and “infiltrators.” He added that government forces restored power to “many parts” of the country on March 8, but was quickly knocked out again by a new wave of attacks. He noted that “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly” had been sabotaged and accused “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”
In the last 60 to 90 days, Venezuela has faced deep political turmoil. Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly in early January, which the Maduro government rejected recognizing since 2016.
On January 23, several days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court invalidated his election, Guaido then declared himself the country’s interim president. Maduro, who was sworn into his second presidential term on January 10 after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, called Guaido’s move treasonous and aided by Washington.
The blackout in Venezuela was likely Washington’s new warfare strategy centered on creating as much social destabilization as possible before military intervention. We have reported that the US military is staggering troops around the Carribean and in nearby countries. With the second wave of war drills expected to commence this weekend, the Venezuelan government continues to prepare for war.
During the past few days, Venezuela was suffering a major blackout that left the country in darkness. The crisis started on March 7 with a failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant, which produces 80% of the country’s power. Additionally, an explosion was reported at Sidor Substation in Bolivar state.
Since then, the government has been struggling to solve the crisis with varying success.
President Nicholas Maduro says that the blackout is the reason of “the electric war announced and directed by American imperialism.” According to Maduro, electrical systems were targeted by cyberattacks and “infiltrators”. He added that authorities managed to restore power to “many parts” of the country on March 8, but the restored systems were knocked down after the country’s grid was once again attacked. He noted that “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly” had been sabotaged and accused “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”
Communication and information minister Jorge Rodriguez described the situation as “the most brutal attack on the Venezuelan people in 200 years”. He also described the situation as the “deliberate sabotage” on behalf of the US-backed opposition.
In own turn, the US continues to reject claims accusing it of attempts to destabilize the situation in the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even claimed that Washington and its allies would not hurt the “ordinary Venezuelans.” According to him, what’s hurting the people is the “Maduro regime’s incompetence.”
“No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro,” Pompeo wrote in Twitter, adding that “Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness.” Unfortunately, the top diplomat did not explain how wide-scale economic sanctions imposed to wreck the country’s economic should help the “ordinary Venezuelans”.
The State Department attitude was expectedly supported by US-proclaimed Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido, who recently returned to country after an attempt to get more foreign support for US-backed regime change efforts. Guaido accused the “Maduro Regime” of turning the blackout during the night in a “horror movie” with his “gangs” terrorizing people.
Another narrative, which recently set the mainstream media on fire, is the alleged Cuban meddling in the crisis. According to this very version of the event, “forces of democracy” were not able to overthrow the Venezuelan government because its political elite is controlled by Cuban intelligence services. President Donald Trump even said Maduro is nothing more than a “Cuban puppet.”
Taking account already existing allegations about the presence of Hezbollah and Russian mercenaries in Venezuela and an expected second attempt to stage US aid delivery provocation on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, it becomes clear that chances of US direct action to bring into power own political puppet are once again growing.
The February attempt to stage a provocation failed and make a final step toward a regime change by force failed after it was publicly revealed that the US-backed opposition was intentionally burning “aid trucks” to blame the Maduro government. Furthermore, the military backed Maduro, and the scale and intensity of protests across the country were not enough to paralyze the government.
The blackout in Venezuela was likely meant to bring the country into disorder and draw off army and security forces. Therefore, an attempt to stage a new provocation to justify a foreign intervention to overthrow the Venezuelan government could be expected anytime soon.
As Venezuela’s five-day power blackout left homes without water, Lilibeth Tejedor found herself looking for it on Monday in the last place she would have imagined – a drain pipe feeding into a river carrying sewage through the capital, Caracas.
Tejedor, 28, joined dozens of people who had flocked to the Guaire river, which snakes along the bottom of a sharp ravine alongside Caracas’ main highway, to fill up a four-gallon (15 liter) plastic container.
The lack of water has become one of the most excruciating side effects of the nationwide blackout that the government of President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on U.S.-backed sabotage but his critics call the product of corruption and incompetence.
The blackout has worsened the situation of a country already facing a hyperinflationary economic collapse that has spurred a mass migration and turned once-basic items like corn flour and toilet paper into unaffordable luxuries for most people.
After five days without electricity to pump water, Venezuelans from working-class neighborhoods to upscale apartment towers are complaining of increasingly infrequent showers, unwashed dishes, and stinking toilets.
Caracas needs 20,000 liters of water per second from nearby watersheds to maintain service, said Jose de Viana, an engineer who ran Caracas’ municipal water authority in the 1990s.
Last week that had fallen to around 13,000 and since Thursday’s blackout it has halted completely, he said.
Electrical systems in Venezuela have been targeted by another cyberattack, President Nicholas Maduro has said. Caracas has accused the US of “sabotage”, while US officials blame local corruption and mismanagement for the blackout.
After a failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant left much of the country without power on Thursday night, Venezuelan authorities managed to restore power to “many parts” of the country. However, the country’s grid took another hammering on Saturday, with many of the restored systems knocked out once again, the country’s embattled president said.
According to Maduro, the systems had been nearly 70 percent restored when “we received another attack, of a cybernetic nature, at midday… that disturbed the reconnection process and knocked out everything that had been achieved until noon.”
We discovered that they were carrying out high-tech… attacks against the power systems.
Additionally, “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly,” was also sabotaged, he added, accusing domestic “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”
Authorities are now trying to restore the systems “manually,” while struggling to “diagnose why the computerized” systems failed on such a massive scale.
Earlier, unconfirmed reports suggested that 95 percent of the crisis-stricken country was again without power, after Sidor Substation in Bolivar state had allegedly exploded, spewing clouds of black smoke into the sky. The substation had reportedly been sustaining the country’s power supply since the Guri plant –which produces 80 percent of the country’s power– failed.
The Venezuelan government blamed Thursday’s blackout on US “sabotage.” President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of waging an “electricity war” on the socialist state, while communication and information minister Jorge Rodriguez blamed the outage on a US-orchestrated cyberattack.
Meanwhile, in the darkened streets of Caracas, a power struggle is still playing out between President Maduro and US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself ‘interim president’ in January. Washington immediately threw its full weight behind Guaido, as did a host of Latin American and EU states. Although the Trump administration admitted this week that it has no particular “timeline” for its desired regime change, the official line from Washington remains “all options are on the table.”
Meanwhile US officials, including a vocal proponent of regime change in Venezuela, Senator Marco Rubio, blamed the socialist policies of Maduro’s government for letting the country’s infrastructure crumble to breaking point. The Florida Republican claimed that the country’s union of electricity workers had predicted the blackout, accused Maduro of pocketing money that could have been used for repairs, and joked that he “must have pressed the wrong thing on the ‘electronic attack’ app I downloaded from Apple.”
Though some parts of Venezuela’s power grid have reportedly begun to come back online after the country was plunged into nation-wide darkness beginning Thursday evening, the mass blackout crisis continues, which Caracas has blamed on US-orchestrated saboteurs.
To prevent further “sabotage” Venezuela’s Defense Ministry has vowed in an official statement via state TV social media channels to deploy armed forces to protect the national electricity system for the duration of the power outage.
“All the security agencies, civil protection and the nation’s integral defense system are deployed to protect and help the people across the country,” a statement said, via Bloomberg. This as official accusations against Washington for conducting what Maduro previously called a US “electricity war” have become even more strident.
The defense ministry previously vowed to put more security patrols on the streets after dark, as already high-crime areas of Caracas are now considered no-go zones as a result of the blackout.
#LIVE | Venezuela’s @jorgerpsuv calls Marco Rubio and Mike Pompeo ‘psychopaths’ for attacking the electrical system for political gain. Asks them to think of the children in hospitals who suffer. pic.twitter.com/NBEewSS64g
Meanwhile the problems now appear to be compounding as Venezuela’s already aging and mismanaged infrastructure continues to collapse in a domino effect of problems precipitated by the electrical grid mass failure.
The AP summarizing the worsening crisis, now hitting many sectors:
Venezuela’s worst power and communications outage on Friday deepened a sense of isolation and decay, endangering hospital patients, forcing schools and businesses to close and cutting people off from their families, friends and the outside world. While electricity returned to some parts of Caracas nearly 24 hours after lights, phones and the internet stopped working, the blackout was another harsh blow to a country paralyzed by economic and political turmoil.
Payments can’t be processed, resulting in cash-only transactions, which is problematic considering the bolivar is worth nothing:
Many of the few shops that were open were only accepting cash because without electricity and the internet they couldn’t process debit card payments, a common method of doing transactions in Venezuela since hyperinflation transformed the bolivar into one of the world’s most worthless currencies
Venezuela’s worst ever power outage in recent history has continued since Thursday, as video and photos continue to come out of the cash and resource strapped country showing entire cities blanketed in darkness.
Stretching into day two of the mass electrical shutdown, 23 out of 24 states remain in darkness, according to the AP, in a prolonged situation now reaching crisis levels given reports that hospitals are struggling to keep back-up generators running and many businesses are forced to remain shuttered.
Caracas streets Thursday evening, via the AFP/Getty
The nation-wide blackout quickly turned into a blame-game over who’s at fault, with many in the opposition blaming the Maduro government’s mismanagement and notorious corruption, and with pro-regime voices blaming right-wing saboteurs taking orders from the United States.
Caracas has even gone so far to point the finger at Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who only yesterday as part of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing said that the US should promote “widespread unrest” in order to bring down the Maduro government. Though offering no specific proof Caracas officials accused the US and opposition activists of causing “pandemonium” for several days, culminating in the blackout.
President Nicolas Maduro gave brief public acknowledgement of the outage on Twitter, saying, “The electricity war declared and directed by the imperialist United States against our people will be overcome!” and added, “No one can defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez. Maximum unity patriots!”
According to the AP the blackout struck during Thursday evening’s peak rush hour period, and after extending through the night Maduro reportedly ordered all schools and government locations closed. Businesses were further ordered closed in order allow work crews easy access to the failing power infrastructure.
Power in some parts of Caracas has reportedly begun to return, though remains off or intermittent in may other parts of the country. Some parts of the country reportedly had power restored within hours, but others remain in darkness now 24 hours later.
According to VOA news Venezuelan officials “said the hydroelectric station at the Guri Dam, one of the world’s largest, had been sabotaged, but offered no evidence.”
And predictably, US officials capitalized on the Venezuelans’ plight, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo taking to Twitter to say: “Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness,” and “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”
The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA. It’s not because of Colombia. It’s not Ecuador or Brazil, Europe or anywhere else. Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime’s incompetence.
Pompeo also expressly denied pro-Maduro officials’ accusations that the United States and its regional allies were engaged in acts of sabotage aimed at regime change.
According to the AP, limited social media posts coming out of Venezuela by those who still had cell phone charges and signals included images of darkened cities that looked like “ghost towns”.
The AP report described:
One user posted a video of a nurse manually pumping air into the lungs of an infant. Others posted photos of long lines of cars queuing up at gas stations in hopes of getting fuel. A man anguished that he’d gone 17 hours without hearing from his mother.
“What impotence!” he lamented.
And crucially, the AP continued, “Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, said online connectivity data indicates the outage is the largest in recent record in Latin America.”
The extreme nature of the blackout impacting cell and internet communications also continued in to Friday: “The observatory warned Friday that some of the remaining networks were starting to fall offline as generators and backups began depleting and cell towers shut down,” the AP reported.
However, 23 hours in to the mass outage there were signs of electricity coming back to some regions of the country, with Net Blocks still reporting “new outages slowing the recovery” and internet connectivity back up to 20%, down from just 2% nationwide earlier in the day Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are without electricity Sunday night as a storm system moves away, and brutally cold air plunges into the void with 50-60 MPH winds.
Huge numbers of American households are without electricity Sunday night and the number is only going to get worse as the cold air continues its trek eastward.
Here are the numbers:
Michigan: Out of 5,010,071 Customers, 102,296 are without power as of 8:53 PM EST.
Ohio: Out of 5, 179,508 Customers, 180,932 are without power as of 8:52 PM EST.
Pennsylvania: Out of 6,167,300 Customers, 153,196 are without power as of 8:51 PM EST.
New York (State) and Long Island: Out of 7,958,060 Customers, 74,129 are without power as of 8:51 PM EST.
West Virginia: Out of 998,159 Customers, 73,010 are without power as of 9:02 PM EST.
Virginia: Out of 3,732,331 Customers, 54,735 are without power as of 9:07 PM EST.
Bear in mind that a “Customer” is not necessarily a single family home. In many areas of high-density population, a “Customer” can also be an apartment complex with several hundred families.
Late Sunday night, as the winds pick-up in eastern New York, all of New Jersey, New York City and Long Island, (High Wind Warnings are already issued for those areas) very many more will likely lose electricity.
For the past few years, I have taken great pains on many radio shows, to URGE my listeners to “Prep.” I’ve explained the need for Emergency food, water, electric, heat, and so forth. VERY FEW took that advice to heart.
It’s awfully cold and dark for a lot of people tonight. Those who were warned but took no action . . . oh well.
Sadly, some folks . . . know everything. They take no action because THEY know it won’t happen to them — or it won’t last too long — or they’ll tough-it out because it can’t get THAT bad; until it does.
They’re the ones who scream the loudest when their lack of preparedness comes home to roost.
For those who think “Prepping” might be a good idea, HERE are some suggestions.