1 April 2019 — Countercurrents
- Maduro announces power rationing, blames opposition for violence and chaos
- Guaido awaits army support, informs BBC
- Guaido dismisses report of Russian troops in Venezuela
- No one is showing up for pro-Guaido protests
- Very happy, says U.S. envoy on India cutting Venezuela oil import
- “Who are these Yankees?” Maradona blasts U.S. meddling in Venezuela
- Lavrov dismisses U.S. threat
- Caracas mayor calls for popular demo
The Venezuelan people’s sufferings and hardship is being multiplied everyday due to violence and chaos perpetrated by imperialism-backed proxies in Venezuela. At the same time, the mainstream media (MSM) has intensified its media- and psychological-war with its stories of confusion and distorted information.
Media reports said:
Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan President, blamed the opposition for its attacks on the power grids as he announced a 30-day power-rationing plan.
Maduro said Sunday that the attacks on Venezuela’s power grid are a part of the opposition’s plan that tries to “sow violence and chaos.”
Maduro said in his TV address: “We must boost our security, as we are dealing with monsters that want to destroy Venezuela. These attacks are being carried out to make our country crazy. Their plan is to destroy Venezuela, push it into violence […] I believe in Venezuela, we must believe in our people.”
In his official statement on Twitter, Maduro also blamed the power outages on “terrorist attacks, perpetrated by criminals who have already announced their intent so blatantly in various public speeches.”
“These were ‘electromagnetic attacks’ that damaged power transmission lines,” Maduro said in the TV address.
“These attacks, varied in nature, have caused a significant amount of equipment damage and interrupted processes necessary for the constant provision of power,” said the written statement.
Maduro has announced a power-rationing scheme that will last 30 days.
“I have approved a 30-day plan to enter a regime of [grid] load management, of a balance between [power] generation, secure transmission, maintenance and consumption throughout the country,” he said in his TV address.
Maduro said the plan would prioritize guaranteed water supply.
He also ordered the suspension of school activities and a reduction of working hours, saying that public and private institutions would only operate until 2:00 p.m., adding that the government is continuing to make every effort to restore the power grid to its full capacity, as well as investigate possible “moles” within the electric service.
“We are investigating infiltrator elements within the electric service that may serve as moles to cause damage from within,” Maduro said in his address.
Technical specialists warn that the power grid remains in a critical state and that more blackouts may happen.
“This is going to continue, the situation is very serious, there will be more blackouts and rationing,” Winton Cabas, president of the Venezuelan association of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, said, according to AFP. “The whole power grid is barely generating between 5,500 and 6,000 megawatts, when it has the capacity to generate 34,000 megawatts.”
In the meantime, Maduro praised the support of the people, who stood united in the face of challenges.
“I congratulate our people, who have maintained monolithic unity, civil behavior and solidarity — everything that makes us indestructible,” he said in the statement.
“We will win in this electric war,” Maduro said in the statement.
By rationing electricity supply, the government hopes to “balance the [power] generation process, secure the transmission process as well as service and consumption processes across the country,” said Maduro.
Emphasis has been placed on making sure that all residents have access to fresh water, he said.
Blackouts have become a common occurrence in Venezuela as it grapples with a severe economic crisis exacerbated by US sanctions that keep its fraying economy in a chokehold. Power outages plagued the citizens throughout the week and were reported on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Meanwhile, Maduro called on the Venezuelan Peace Squadrons [cuadrillas de paz], popular militia organizations allied with the government, to “defend peace” in the face of calls for unrest.
Maduro foresees that school activities will be starting again between Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
“We will guarantee public transport to maintain the working pace,” Maduro said.
A group of media reported protests over the lack of access to power and water resources in parts of Caracas on Sunday.
Guaido’s “Operation Freedom”
Juan Guaido, the imperialism-backed self-proclaimed “interim president,” initiated his “Operation Freedom” in the capital city’s outskirts, where the power situation remains highly volatile.
Guaido awaits army support
A BBC report said:
Guaido has acknowledged that there can only be a change of government with the support of the armed forces.
Guaido told BBC that the frequent power cuts and water shortages were driving intense public anger against Maduro’s government.
“We have a situation now with protests in more than 20 districts of the capital, Caracas, and in all Venezuelan states. People are demanding that power and water supplies be restored, but also for the usurper, Nicolas Maduro, to go, which is the main message,” he said.
However, Guaido said Maduro could not be removed unless Venezuela’s military abandoned him.
“The support and the backing of the armed forces will be necessary,” he said.
Guaido dismisses report of Russian troops in Venezuela
The BBC report also said: Guaido – who the government says will be barred from holding public office for 15 years – dismissed the recent reported arrival of Russian troops in Venezuela as a “provocation” by Maduro to “try to show some sort of support that he really doesn’t have.”
“The Russians haven’t made any concrete moves. They haven’t shown any real support apart from, perhaps, some diplomatic statements,” he said.
No one is showing up for pro-Guaido protests
Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance activist group, who visited Venezuela in early-March with an American delegation, told Sputnik that one of the delegates, who stayed in Venezuela, was unable to find any reported protests called by Guaido.
“One of our delegates is in Venezuela and she was trying to go to these protests, and couldn’t find them. They seem like no one is showing up for these protests. So, Guaido is losing power as he embraces the United States, as he calls for US troops, as he is tied to this terrorism and the electrical grid attack, he is losing power. And on the other side, Maduro is gaining power,” Zeese said.
Guaido reportedly organized “thousands” of protesters at some 100 rally points across the country, Efecto Cocuyo website reported Saturday.
He called for mass protests on March 30 to prepare for the April 6 of what he dubbed “tactical actions” of his “Operation Freedom.”
Guaido said opposition had formed aid and freedom committees that would take part in the action but gave away no details of what was planned.
Zeese, along with a 13-member delegation from the US Peace Council organization, visited Venezuela to get a first-hand look of the situation in the country. The delegation met with Jorge Arreaza, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, other government officials and the leaders of the Human Rights Council.
U.S. is “very happy” on India cutting Venezuela oil import
A report by NDTV, an Indian TV channel, said:
The U.S, on Sunday appreciated India’s efforts adding to Washington’s sanctions to restrict exports of Venezuelan oil in the global energy market.
“I would say that we have had contacts with Indian companies and with the Government of India and that we have found there to be a very considerable amount of cooperation, which we are very happy to see,” Sputnik quoted US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams as saying.
The statement comes after several Indian companies stopped importing oil from Venezuela following Washington’s call to oil refineries to cut their dealings with Caracas or face sanctions themselves.
“Who are these Yankees?” Maradona blasts U.S. intervention in Venezuela
Diego Maradona, the retired attacking midfielder, who took the Argentine national team to victory at the 1986 World Cup, and is regarded by many fans as perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, is a well-known supporter of Maduro and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.
Diego “The Golden Boy” Maradona has taken a brief timeout from his role as manager of Mexico’s Dorados de Sinaloa football club to dedicate the team’s Sunday night victory to his friend Maduro and the Venezuelan people. Maradona took a jab at “Yankee” interventionism in Latin America.
“I want to dedicate this victory to Nicolas Maduro and to all Venezuelans who are suffering,” Maradona said, speaking to reporters after Sunday’s game.
“The sheriffs of the world, who are those Yankees? Just because they have the biggest bombs in the world they think they are so much more advanced than us. No, they are not,” Maradona stressed.
“Just because they have the biggest bombs in the world they think are so much more advanced than us. No, they are not,” Maradona declared at a press conference after soccer match in Mexico that the Dorados de Sinaloa won 3-2 over the Tampico Madero Sunday night.
“We don’t buy that ‘chirolita’ they have as president,” added Maradona referring to an Argentine puppet famous in the 1970s that resembles the U.S. President Trump and was famous for its rogue, childish personality.
Maradona was a close friend of the deceased leftist presidents Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
When Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was declared victor of last July’s Mexican presidential elections, Maradona said: “He finally won the elections in Mexico and the truth is he made us all very happy.”
Maradona’s comments on Venezuela and the U.S. spread like wildfire online, with Twitter and Redditusers predictably dividing into camps regarding his message.
“You are great Maradona,” one user wrote.
Last year, following a drone attack against Maduro and other government officials, the football star said that the attempt on the Venezuelan leader’s life was “an attempt against the nation.”
Lavrov dismisses U.S. threat
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed recent US threats to make Moscow “pay a price” for its military assistance to Venezuela.
He stressed that Russian support including assistance with the maintenance of military equipment was being provided on an “absolutely legitimate and legal basis,” and in accordance with Venezuelan law and bilateral agreements.
Caracas mayor call for popular demonstration
A Prensa Latina report said: Erika Farias, the mayoress of Caracas, reiterated her call for people to mobilize against terrorism and the destabilizing actions of the Venezuelan opposition.
“Whatever you do, our people this Saturday will take to the streets of Caracas in defense of peace and freedom. Our commitment is the light that kindles the victorious march,” urged the official through the social network Twitter.
“They have wanted to disturb our peace, but our forces in Caracas, in civil-military union, have responded immediately to maintain order of each territory. Caracas is in complete calm,” she said, referring to recent attacks on basic services aimed at generating chaos and violence within society.
Farias reported that despite the intermittent supply of electricity, by Saturday morning 18 parishes in the capital had partially restored service.
“Persons in civilian clothes fire at protesters” says a newspaper
A group of armed people wearing civilian clothes opened fire at people taking part in an anti-government protest in the Libertador district of Venezuela’s capital Caracas, the Nacional newspaper has reported.
Two people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, the paper said.
Photos from the site of the attack show demonstrate two men, one carrying a weapon resembling a rifle, the other holds a pistol. The paper blamed the violence on Collectivo groups, irregular community organizations that support the current government.
The report of the incident could not be confirmed. Moreover, real identity of the two persons could not be ascertained. Many similar reports have been circulated in Venezuela many times. Moreover, there is the question of agent provocateurs. Venezuela has also seen acts of agent provocateurs. A few days ago, fake photographs were identified by a leading news agency.
Kremlin: USA has not requested phone call on Venezuela with Putin
A Reuters report said: The United States has yet to request a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Venezuela; the Kremlin was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on Saturday.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will probably talk to Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping about the crisis in Venezuela.
Coalition holds “US hands off Venezuela” protest at Indianapolis
The Peace in Venezuela Coalition gathered Sunday afternoon at Monument Circle to protest in solidarity with the people in Venezuela. The protest in Indianapolis came about two weeks after thousands gathered in cities across the nation for “Hands off Venezuela” marches.
“Protesters believe that Venezuelans alone must decide their own destiny, and that the US must stop all intervention, which includes the lifting of economic sanctions,” the coalition said in a press release.
Turkey to host Venezuelan minister despite U.S. pressure
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza will visit Turkey on Monday to discuss bilateral relations between Ankara and Caracas, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
The visit comes as U.S. pressure on Turkey intensifies for it to halt support for President Maduro.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a strong backer of Maduro, depicting efforts to unseat him and an economic crisis in Venezuela as a plot by Western powers.
U.S. envoy to Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, on Thursday said Erdoğan was “strongly supporting the Maduro regime” and that U.S. officials had “not had the cooperation from Turkey” that Washington had wanted.
On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry backed the Latin American country and said Turkey “is against attempts to replace legitimate governments through foreign intervention.”
Turkey has accepted billions of dollars of gold from Venezuela as part of efforts to support Maduro’s government and Erdoğan has pledged to build a factory to refine it.