Unfolding Events in Venezuela

Venezuelan People Stand Firm in Face of Escalating U.S. War Threat

Government workers in Venezuela demonstrate their support for the Maduro government,
March 14, 2019.

Over the past ten days the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian government have worked together as an organized force to resist and overcome the effects of a massive attack on the country's electricity system.

"Electricity War"

Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant (Guri Dam) located in Bolívar State, the fourth largest such installation in the world, provides 70 to 80 per cent of Venezuela's electricity supply.

On Thursday, March 7 at 5:00 pm, Venezuela's electricity system was brought down in most of the country, causing a blackout in 18 of 23 states. The effects were widespread, affecting everything run by electricity including water pumping facilities, subways and trains, the electronic means of payment widely used in the country and many other features of daily life. The outage continued for five days, as new attacks followed while repairs were in progress the first two days. The Venezuelan government has determined the blackout was caused by sabotage originating inside as well as outside the country.

The government immediately established a plan to protect the Venezuelan people from harm, and facilitate services being restored as quickly as possible. The first priority was monitoring the functioning of hospitals and clinics; next was delivering drinking water and gas to neighbourhoods and ensuring the continuation of the Local Supply and Production Committee (CLAP) program which delivers staple food supplies to some six million households. Workplaces were closed and workers given four days off, with schools closed for just over a week.

Workers prepare to restart the water system in Caracas, March 12, 2019.

According to investigations carried out so far, the Venezuelan government has reported that the sabotage was carried out by a combination of cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks. The first cyber attack was directed against the computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system at the massive Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant (Guri Dam) which provides 70 to 80 per cent of the country's electricity. Less than two days later a second cyber attack shut down what is said to be the "brain" of the transmission system, in Caracas. These attacks originated in the U.S., according to the government. The electromagnetic attacks were said to have been carried out using mobile devices to deliver high frequency pulses to knock out main transmission lines in some parts of the country. As well, a number of electrical sub-stations were attacked with explosives and set on fire in a further attempt to collapse the system and maximize the damage.

In what surely was no coincidence, on Wednesday, March 13, there was an explosion and fire in two oil storage tanks belonging to the state oil company, Pétroleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), in the Orinoco Belt region of the country.

Thanks to the Herculean effort of the country's electrical workers and all those who worked in an organized way under difficult conditions to ensure the basic needs of the population were met, and thanks to the Venezuelan people themselves who faced the adversity with patience and a spirit of helping one another -- instead of turning against their government as the likes of Mr. Juan Guaidó and his puppet masters in the White House called for them to do -- the storm was weathered and another criminal scheme to create a pretext for a "humanitarian" intervention was foiled.

On March 15, President Nicolás Maduro announced that electricity had been fully restored, with public transportation and drinking water being progressively restored as well.

Addressing the situation of the past week, Maduro said sabotaging the country's electricity system to generate civil unrest and using the occasion to call for an attack on the political power of the country has a name: terrorism. He said international experts were being asked to assist different ministries and institutions of the Bolivarian government to carry out an investigation into the attack and how it was carried out, adding that a number of countries and private actors had already offered to help strengthen the electricity system and ensure it is fully recovered.

While the legitimate government of the Venezuelan people did its utmost to repair the damage, restore services and put in place measures to minimize harmful effects on the health and well-being of the entire population -- not just its supporters -- the usurper Guaidó and his White House handlers jumped for joy at the opportunity to heap blame on "Maduro" for causing the power outage and exacerbating the "humanitarian crisis" they cynically hope to use as a pretext to call for the U.S. to intervene militarily.

President Maduro announces the complete restoration of electrical service and the progressive restoration of drinking water and public transit throughout Venezuela, March 15, 2019.

U.S. Puppet Feigns Control, His Masters Rattle Their Sabres

On March 11, Guaidó summoned his illegitimate court, otherwise known as the National Assembly, which like him recognizes no other branch of the government and takes its direction from Washington -- to approve a decree declaring a "state of alarm" in the country, allegedly due to the blackout. This is intended to serve as a prelude to manipulating Article 187 of the Bolivarian Constitution, intended for no such purpose, to call for a foreign military intervention. On the same day he issued another hollow decree -- prohibiting the shipment of Venezuelan oil to Cuba. News reports indicate that what will be introduced next for approval by the same body are proposals for the restructuring and privatization of PDVSA.

After Guaidó issued his decrees, Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton took the reins in his own hands, putting insurance companies and flag carriers "on notice" that there would be consequences if they facilitate the shipment of Venezuelan crude to Cuba. He also warned India that if it bought oil from Venezuela it could be hit with sanctions as well.  On March 12, Elliott Abrams announced that "significant" new sanctions were coming against Venezuela and international financial institutions. The day before Donald Trump requested of Congress that the State Department be allowed to transfer up to $500 million from other funds to "respond to the crisis" or "support a democratic transition" in Venezuela during the coming year. That same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that all remaining U.S. diplomatic personnel would be withdrawn from Venezuela. While this was ordered by Venezuela, and in the past Pompeo had made a point of saying the U.S. did not recognize the government of Nicolás Maduro and would only act on the orders of its puppet Guaidó, this time he made a point of saying the decision came from the U.S. because of "the deteriorating situation" in the country and because diplomatic staff at the embassy had "become a constraint on U.S. policy," leaving it to the imagination what that meant. This week the State Department also advised all U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Venezuela that they "should depart" the country.

Fresh drinking water was delivered by truck to neighbourhoods and hospitals.

Taking everything into consideration, including historical precedents from the U.S./NATO bombing and invasion of countries like Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya which were subjected to similar all-sided attacks: sanctions to wear down the population, a media war to disseminate lies and demonize their leaders, and sabotage operations against their national infrastructure -- there is good reason not to be lulled by the failure of the U.S. and Canada’s "peaceful transition" fiction.  Military intervention has never been taken off the table. Especially now, with the civil war sharpening between rival factions of the U.S. oligarchy and many of their junior partners in the Lima Group also sinking in their own crises of legitimacy, launching a war for "humanitarian" ideals or to "protect" a civilian population could be seen by these reactionary forces as a way to distract from their own problems.

Stand with the Venezuelan People

Graphic announces a celebration, March 16 of the Venezuelan people's victory in defending their nation. (click to enlarge)

The time is now to step up actions of all kinds in defence of the Venezuelan people's right to solve their own problems without foreign interference and threats of any kind, in a way that upholds their sovereignty and right to self-determination. Now is also the time to demand that the Canadian government stop lending itself to the illegitimate, lying schemes of the U.S. warmongers about "restoring democracy and human rights" in Venezuela, including the demand that the May 2018 presidential election won by Nicolás Maduro be repeated. The real aim of the U.S. and those appeasing it has everything to do with violating the rights of the Venezuelan people, not upholding them. The global oligarchy wants to seize control of Venezuela's vast riches from its people and put an end to their Bolivarian revolution and the economic, social, political and cultural gains it has brought to the working people. U.S./Guaido’s plan will return the people to being impoverished and deprived as their public assets and services are privatized, social programs cut and other harsh austerity measures are imposed on them, dictated by the lords of international finance that run the IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and other such institutions. It is a recipe for disaster.

Hands Off Venezuela Day of Action, Los Angeles, California, March 16, 2019.

(With files from Reuters, Venezuelanalysis, Prensa Latina, teleSUR, AVN. Photos: Min Mujer, AVN.)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 9 - March 16, 2019

Article Link:
Unfolding Events in Venezuela: Venezuelan People Stand Firm in Face of Escalating U.S. War Threat - Margaret Villamizar


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