New attack on Venezuela’s national electric system: Roundup – 7

26 March 2019 — 

  • New attack on Venezuela’s national electric system
  • Venezuela presents evidence of opposition paramilitary plot
  • Over $30 billion of Venezuela’s assets stolen by US
  • Lavrov to US: Your Venezuelan coup violates UN Charter
  • Venezuela may divert US-bound oil to Russia & China
  • Venezuela electricity crisis may challenge global oil market – IEA
  • Trump’s failed bid to isolate Venezuela
  • Trump Admin wants $500M to fund its intervention in Venezuela

Imperialism is continuing its assault on Venezuela. The Bolivarian republic is also resisting the assault steadfastly.

Media reports said:

Another electricity outage affected Venezuela on the night of March 25, 2019.

The government denounced the sabotage of the country’s electricity supply system. Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Vice President of Communication, Tourism and Culture, expressed the denouncement. “We have experienced a new attack to the transmission and charging center of the National Electric System, aimed to take out the machines of the Simon Bolívar Hydroelectric Power Plant located in Guri”, explained Rodriguez.

However, all teams immediately began work to restore power.

The new sabotage left many sectors of the country without service.

This new aggression happens almost 20 days after a major cyber attack to the country’s electrical system resulted in a six-day nation-wide electricity outage, which Venezuela claimed was executed by the United States.

This time all the countermeasure mechanisms implemented by President Nicolas Maduro performed flawlessly. These worked for the insurance, maintenance, and communication between the different stations, which allowed that in record time almost all the service throughout the country to be restored.

Some parts of Caracas and the Metro system in the city are still without service.

The Metro system informed that it activated a contingency plan for alternate routes.

“Although the attack had similar characteristics to the March 7 event, we had the capacity to respond quickly and the service has been restored in almost all the national territory and in the next few hours all the country will have electricity back on”, assured Rodriguez.

“The real intention is to attack, generate anxiety, plunge the population in a situation of deep distress to be able to seize power and achieve what they have already done, which it is steal all the resources that belong to the Venezuelans,” said Rodriguez.

“We will win this war that is being waged against us,” ended Rodriguez.

Evidence of opposition plot

Venezuelan authorities said, self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido and other opposition leaders were involved in a plot to carry out acts of terrorism employing foreign paramilitaries trained in Colombia.

Jorge Rodriguez presented evidence of “ultra-rightist plans to promote regime change.”

Rodriguez revealed screen captures of Guaido’s aide Marrero’s phone showing Whatsapp group conversations featuring Marrero, Guaido, Leopoldo Lopez, among other opposition figures. Lopez is currently under house arrest after being convicted for inciting violence in the 2014 street protests.

Rodriguez said, more evidence would be presented.

The screen captures also revealed details of alleged bank accounts through which payments to the paramilitary groups were supposed to be made. One of them was in Banesco’s Panama branch. Banesco is Venezuela’s largest private bank, and Rodriguez called on Banesco owner Ricardo Escotet to inform security services whether this account exists and what movements have been made.

Rodriguez indicated that Venezuelan authorities had learned of the existence of the bank accounts after notorious Russian pranksters Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov called Guaido impersonating the president of Switzerland. The pranksters said they had identified funds belonging to President Maduro they wished to transfer to Guaido, who readily provided the “president” with account information.

Juan Planchart, a lawyer, was also detained on Sunday by Venezuela’s intelligence services SEBIN. Planchart was presented in the Whatsapp conversations revealed by Rodriguez as a financial intermediary.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro likewise divulged that a Colombian paramilitary leader, Wilfrido Torres Gomez, alias “Neco,” was captured in Carabobo State on Saturday.

Jorge Rodriguez later claimed on Twitter that Torres was involved in the alleged opposition plans.

Russian air force planes

Two Russian air force planes landed Venezuela’s Maiquetia airport on Sunday. The planes carried equipment and around 100 servicemen. The team also includes General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of Russian ground forces.

The arrival of the Russian team is a fulfillment of “technical and military cooperation agreements.”

Over $30 billion of Venezuela’s assets stolen on “Trump’s orders”

More than US$30 billion were illegally diverted from Venezuela in two months, Jorge Rodriguez has revealed, accusing the US of orchestrating the operation.

Around $1 billion of the stolen funds from national assets in international banks was transferred to the personal accounts of opposition leaders, according to Jorge Rodriguez. The money is meant to finance “terrorist cells against the country,” he added.

“They have resorted to stealing the assets that Venezuela holds in different banks. This money is being confiscated at the request of the [U.S. President Donald] Trump administration. Over $30 billion has been stolen in the past couples of months,” Rodriguez said on Saturday as cited by the Venezuelan state TV VTV.

The scheme was allegedly coordinated by US-backed opposition leader Guaido, his key aids, Leopoldo Lopez, and the recently detained Roberto Marrero, among others.

Information gathered from Marrero’s cell phone indicates that Venezuelan lawyer Juan Planchart received some part of the stolen money, according to the minister.

Earlier in March, Venezuelan President Maduro accused Washington of stealing $5 billion in Venezuelan funds allocated for buying substances necessary for medicine production and their delivery to hospitals and pharmacies.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped with sanctions on state-run mining company Minerven and its head, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata.

Lavrov to US: Your Venezuelan coup violates UN Charter

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday by telephone during which they discussed U.S. interventionism in Venezuela.

According to Russia’s foreign ministry website, Lavrov told Pompeo: “Washington’s attempts to organize a coup d’état in Venezuela and [U.S.] threats against the legitimate government are in violation of the UN Charter.”

The Russian Foreign Minister went on to say that the U.S. is conducting “undisguised interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

The U.S. has imposed at least 20 sanctions against Venezuela, is trying to criminalize a Russian state oil company for doing business with Venezuela, which Lavrov has said, “contradicts international law.”

During the Monday conversation, Pompeo accused Russia of “exacerbating tensions in Venezuela.”

Venezuela may divert US-bound oil to Russia & China

Sanctions-hit Venezuela may reroute crude initially destined for the US to other countries, according to the country’s top energy official, adding that shipments could go to Russia and China.

Venezuela’s oil minister and president of state-run oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, told a recent meeting of OPEC and other oil ministers in Azerbaijan that Caracas is going to diversify its crude shipping routes.

Reuters reported that Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and China were seen as the destinations after the country halted its crude supplies to India.

“Russia and China are seen as the main destinations because of the suspension of oil exports to India”, the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry said in a statement citing the minister.

Venezuela electricity crisis may challenge global oil market – IEA

Crude supplies from Venezuela are at risk of falling sharply and becoming a challenge for the world’s oil market, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its monthly report.

The last power crisis in Venezuela disrupted crude exports, which could return or worsen, threatening 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil supplies, or more than one-percent of global output.

“Although there are signs that the situation is improving, the degradation of the power system is such that we cannot be sure if the fixes are durable,” said the IEA.

The IEA report noted that until recently, Venezuela’s oil production had stabilized at around 1.2 million bpd.

It said, “During the past week, industry operations were seriously affected and ongoing losses on a significant scale could present a challenge to the market.”

Trump’s failed bid to isolate Venezuela

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the fact that five Caribbean leaders unilaterally decided to meet the U.S. President without CARICOM members was “troubling”.

Five Leaders of Caribbean nations met with the U.S. President Friday to discuss how the U.S. could be more involved in the region.

As the current chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis was not invited to the meeting, there was no true representation of the region.

Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Allen Chastanet; President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina; Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness; Haitian President, Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Minnis met with the U.S. President.

These leaders are supportive of Trump administration’s stance on Venezuela. They have also aligned themselves to the Lima Group.

He said, “None of those persons were invited and for it to be a true CARICOM representation you must at least have the chairman” so that any discussion on Venezuela actually represents what CARICOM wants.

CARICOM has always stood against intervention in Venezuela and opposed U.S. sanctions on the South American country.

According to Gonsalves, the actions of the U.S. concerning Venezuela as “a creeping coup d’état” against a legitimate government and Caricom will not fall victim to this entrapment.

The five leaders who met with Trump spoke of energy agreements. The PetroCaribe agreement allowed Caribbean nations to receive a stable supply of oil and gas from Venezuela.

However, after sanctions being imposed on it, the agreement ceased and for Gonsalves, it will be “ridiculous” for Caribbean states to abide by an energy agreement by coup d’état perpetrators.

Trump Admin wants $500m to fund its intervention in Venezuela

U.S. President Trump has asked Congress to cut aid to Latin America but allow the U.S. Department of State to use US$500 million to fund its interventionist policies against the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, which the Trump administration refers to as “democratic transition”.

The U.S. government released its fiscal year 2020 draft budget (FY20), which summarizes what the Trump administration intends to achieve from October 2019 to September 2020.

In his declaration of priorities, President Trump includes a 23 percent cut for the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), whose budget is US$52 billion in 2019, which Trump wants to lower to U$40 billion in 2020.

In a letter to Congress, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that his Department needs the “appropriate resources” to meet its main foreign policy objectives. Therefore, the Executive reserves the ability to transfer up to US$500 million from other funds to “respond to the crisis” or “support a democratic transition” in Venezuela.

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