US hackers plunge Venezuela into nationwide blackout

A cyber attack against Venezuela’s power facilities, which Caracas has blamed on the US, was designed to create intolerable living conditions throughout the Latin American country, Izvestia writes. According to Washington strategists, the power outage was aimed at whipping up protest sentiment to topple Venezuela’s legitimate President Nicolas Maduro. On March 7, state power corporation Corpoelec reported an act of sabotage at the country’s major Guri hydroelectric plant, which supplies power to the capital and 70% of Venezuela. Since Thursday afternoon, 21 out of 23 states across the country have been without electricity.

According to an expert from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Igor Pshenichnikov, Washington is trying to paint the Venezuela blackout as though absolute chaos is reigning throughout the country and all Venezuelan economic sectors, including critical ones such as power supply, have been shaken to the core by the crisis. The country’s TV channel, Telesur, reported that the US is using this "economic crisis" plotline as another pretext for its planned military intervention into the country under the slogans of "establishing democracy and order."

Apparently, the masterminds of this attack sought to target sensitive social infrastructure facilities, primarily hospitals, to disrupt life-supporting equipment that requires uninterrupted power supply. The major goal was to spark mass public discontent. Meanwhile, the organizers of this cyber attack and those in the mass media covering it made a blunder, the expert noted. All these "dramatic" articles and Twitter reports about power cuts in hospitals and even the death of 79 patients turned out to be fake news, the paper writes. Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the masterminds of this cyber attack and their accomplices in Venezuela did not take into account that under President Maduro’s initiative all hospitals across the country had been equipped with reserve power generators and not a single hospital faced power cuts nor did anyone die. Local media reports said the power supply is being restored across the country and "peace and calm are prevailing in Venezuela."

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been lambasted by US Vice President Mike Pompeo for failing to swiftly oust Maduro, in his turn has blamed civil servants, who are supporting the authorities. He urged them to go on strike against Maduro’s government and promised that a bill would be passed protecting them from "repressions." Earlier, Guaido had told the same to the military, calling on servicemen to side with him, but so far they have ignored his appeal, the paper writes.

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