Tag Archives: Venezuela

Venezuelan Gold Business

(Orlando Wilson) After the United States and the Venezuelan oppositions failed coup attempt on the Government of Nicolas Maduro on April 30th, 2019, life went back to normal in the chaos of Venezuela. Not only has life gone back to normal, but for many in the world of organized crime and trafficking, things are booming. The Narcos and the traffickers also know that as long as they pay their dues and cooperate with the Maduro Government, they are untouchable by law enforcement be it from the United States or Western Europe.

The trafficking routes established between the coastal towns – and organized crime hubs – of Guiria and Macuro in Sucre State, Venezuela and the coastal towns of Chaguaramas and Woodbrook in Trinidad & Tobago is a blatant example of how unconcealed the trafficking is. Venezuela and Trinidad & Tobago are on 6.8 miles apart at their closest point!

The kidnapping of women aged between 14 years to 25 years is on the rise all over Venezuela, and in Trinidad & Tobago they pay up to 1.000 USD$ per woman. The human trafficking business in Venezuela is controlled by the Bolivarian Intelligence and Bolivarian National Guard. They have found that controlling human trafficking is an easy and profitable way of making money.

The Venezuelan drug trafficking business is booming between the coastal towns in Sucre State and Trinidad & Tobago. Venezuelan Coast Guard, Bolivarian National Guard, Bolivarian Intelligence and Military Intelligence are all profiting as are members of the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard and political figures.

It’s understood the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard is not well equipped, it lacks manpower but is corrupt. They intercept boats with illegal immigrants coming from Venezuela but do not touch or chase the ones carrying drugs and women that will be working or sold as prostitutes.

The Venezuelan Narco traffickers are also opening up routes farther south with the city of Nieuw Nickerie in Suriname becoming a hub for traffickers from Sucre State and Delta Amacuro state.

Gold Trafficking

Venezuela’s third-largest export is gold, and the country’s gold production is controlled by the military. Reuters reported that officially 20 tons of national reserve gold and 23 tons of mined gold were taken to Istanbul, Turkey in 2018. In November 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to “ban U.S. persons from dealing with entities and individuals involved with ‘corrupt or deceptive’ gold sales from Venezuela.”

Since the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela and due to the dilapidated state of the oil industry, the Venezuelan government, with the help of organized crime groups, have found the gold business a nice and quick way of making money.

Gold miners killed by rivals in Bolívar state… SEBIN Commandos were the first on the scene after the killings…

Click to view slideshow.

In 2016 the Venezuelan government foreseeing economic and political problems in the future created the Arco Minero del Orinoco that covers the states of BolívarAmazonas and Delta Amacuro. The area covered by the Arco Minero del Orinoco is rich in mineral resources; experts estimate 7,000 tons of gold, copper, diamonds, uranium, coltan, iron, bauxite and other mineral reserves. Environmental and human rights groups immediately raised concerns about the potential destruction and pollution of the environment and the exploitation of those who would be working in and supporting the mining operations.

At the moment the main areas of activity are El CallaoTumeremo and Las Cristinas in Bolívar State and the main commodity is gold. The area covered by Arco Minero del Orinoco can be classed as one of the most lawless, dangerous and corrupt places on earth. Nothing that happens there is clean, life is cheap, the money is dirty, and business is booming.

The Venezuelan soldier in the below photos was caught stealing gold by the criminal gang “Pranes’. The took out his eyes and chopped his hands off.

Click to view slideshow.

The main players overseeing the Venezuelan gold business are the usual suspects… President Nicolas Maduro, his son Nicolás Maduro Guerra and his wife Cilia Flores. Two of Cilia Flores’ nephews were arrested in Haiti in 2015 by the U.S. DEA, on drug trafficking charges and sentenced to 18 years in U.S. prison. There is Tareck El Aissami who is wanted by the US authorities, a serving Venezuelan politician, the Minister of Industries and National Production, and also reportedly a Hezbollah liaison. And then, of course, there is the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard)FANB (Bolivarian army and Bolivarian navy) and SEBIN (National Intelligence Service).

Other players and foot soldiers in the Venezuelan gold business include:

  • Colombian guerrillas: They operate will the full support from the Venezuelan regime; it’s believed that there are more than 2.000 well-armed and well-equipped guerrilla members performing security activities and gold extraction in Bolívar state. The direct order (coming from President Maduro) to the Bolivarian Armed Forces, is to support and help them in everything, weapons, ammunition, uniforms, vehicles and even transporting them on helicopters that belong to the Air Force or Army. Every single military base in Bolívar state has the order to assist and shelter guerrilla group members.
  • Venezuelan gang members: Gang members form such groups as Pranes are into almost every dirty way of making money; extortion, killing, kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. And now they are into the gold business with the blessing from high-up officials from the Venezuelan regime. They’re responsible for at least 1.000 murders just in Bolívar state. Since last year, the Colombian guerrillas have been taking over their territory, which is turning the situation into a medium scale war.
  • Local gold mafia: The gold business in Bolívar state is old and established. Most of the businessmen from Bolívar state trade in gold, they’re well-armed, but they prefer to stay low profile. You can see them and their people at their gold shops in almost every single town and Puerto Ordaz city.
  • Syrian nationals: Recently, many people from Syria have been moving to Venezuela and establishing themselves in Bolívar state and the gold business; they come will full support from Tareck El Aissami.
  • Hezbollah: Hezbollah is performing activities related to gold extraction and trafficking. The terrorist group has a large international network and is making a lot of money in Venezuela; the gold ends up in Turkey, UAE, and even Syria.

Syrian gold dealers in Bolívar state, Venezuela

Mixed in with these groups are the Chinese, Turks, and Russians who are operating in the Venezuelan gold business and trying to stay clean and out of the turf wars. The Venezuelan gold is being trafficked regionally by air or river into Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname where it can be mixed in and marked as locally produced and then moved internationally to Turkey, Tanzania, and UAE, etc. Russians are also a common sight in certain Caracas neighborhoods.

Most of Bolívar and the neighboring States are covered in jungle, and thick forest and the only way of getting into many towns is by air. The bush pilots in the area the best-paid pilots in Venezuela, all they do is fly logistics, food, weapons, gold, prostitutes, medicines and anything else needed.

Venezuelan gold business brings with it chaos, crime, kidnapping, murder, well-armed gang members and guerrillas but it’s booming because of the vast amount of money that is being made by those involved. The profits from the Venezuelan gold business go to sustain the affluent lifestyles of those in the upper echelons but also to corrupt officials and influential people in the region and internationally that can help facilitate criminal industry which these days is Venezuela’s main export.

Source: by Orlando Wilson | Truth Only Has A Few Friends

Trump Backed Venezuela Opposition Caught Embezzling ‘Humanitarian Aid’ Cash

Millions of dollars raised for “freedom and democracy” in Venezuela ended up spent in Colombia by the aides of US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, and were exposed by Colombian spies in yet another blow to his cause.

Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January and was recognized by the US and many of its Latin American allies, but has repeatedly failed to seize power from President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

Now he seems farther from that goal than ever, as several of his aides have been named by Colombian intelligence in a leak revealing the embezzlement of US funds intended for paying Venezuelan army defectors. The funds were raised by a Live Aid-style concert, organized by billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson in February, and intended to coincide with Guaido’s followers forcing open the border with Colombia to US “humanitarian aid.”

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Lindsey Graham Asks Trump To Invade Venezuela: ‘Do It Like Reagan Did’ In Grenada

Likely frustrated over the fact that the crisis in Venezuela has by and large retreated from the headlines over the past weeks following the failed US-backed coup attempt against Maduro at the end of April, Sen. Lindsey Graham went on one of his characteristic jingoistic rants during a Fox News Sunday appearance.

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Historical file photo of Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada invasion, 1983

The well-known hawk from South Carolina directly appealed to Trump to initiate a US invasion akin to the one executed by Ronald Reagan in Grenada back in 1983.

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Joys Of Socialism: Venezuelans Looting Corpses For Jewelry And Bones

Venezuelans, desperate to find anything of value in their country where the currency has collapsed and widespread political and economic chaos rules, are now targeting whatever commodity they can get their hands on: this includes jewelry and human bones, which desperate locals can then sell for a profit, according to the BBC

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The British network spoke to relatives of those who had family members at one cemetery, the Cementerio del Sur, who are now standing guard at their relatives tombs to keep looters away. 

Eladio Bastida, whose wife is buried in the cemetery said: “I come here every week, or every two weeks. I keep watch. I worry I’ll arrive one day and she’ll be gone. When I buried her, you could just walk in here, but lately you can barely reach her grave, because every tomb has been opened and the remains taken out.”

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Looters are primarily looking for jewelry, gold teeth, and skeleton remains that can be sold for use in various rituals. Damage at cemeteries is so widespread that workers can’t keep up with repairing graves. Even historical figures like novelist and former Venezuelan president Rómulo Gallegos have had their graves looted. 

Bastida continued: “This is a lawless land, there is no respect for anything here. God will punish those people that are doing this.”

One resident, Jorge Liscano, told the BBC he plans to exhume his relatives’ remains to keep them safe: “This is the result of social collapse, a lack of education, the loss of values in our homes and our institutions. In recent years, this country has only focused on politics. We have forgotten about the things that make us human.”

The crisis in Venezuela has escalated recently as the national electric grid has broken down and left residents without basic human needs. Managing the remains of the deceased continues to be a challenge in the country. 

Reports from local morgues last year revealed exploding corpses due to a lack of effective refrigeration. Most corpses placed in morgues quickly enter what is known as the emphysematous phase of decomposition, where they can no longer contain the gases and putrid fluids accumulated inside and burst as a result.

And even the country’s criminals are now seeking greener pastures:

Many morgues are also struggling to handle the sheer number of arriving dead bodies, many of whom have died as a result of violence or lack of basic medical care. A report from the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) published last December found that murder rates actually fell over the course of 2018 because violent criminals joined the millions of people fleeing the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

But why worry about the borders, right?

Meanwhile, it was just days ago that we reported on the “Zombie Apocalypse” that the country has become, sharing photos of Caracas, looking empty and desolate. A series of AP photographs presented Caracas as essentially becoming a ghost town after sunset, painting eerie scenes of the empty streets and stores. 

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When dusk turns to night, the AP reports, “the once-thriving metropolis empties under darkness” after recently “a string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month dramatized the decay.” Horrifyingly for common Venezuelans, years of mismanagement under the Maduro government and externally imposed isolation along with biting US sanctions have further sent Venezuela’s health care system into “utter collapse,” a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report also finds

The population has also witnessed a rapid resurgence of preventable deadly diseases. With near constant electricity shortages and sometime complete mass outages, once popular shops in upscale Caracas neighborhoods have struggled to stay open at all.

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US officials have repeatedly blamed President Nicolas Ocasio-Cortez Maduro for overseeing a socialist system of vast corruption; however, Caracas officials have blamed a decade of US sanctions for exacerbating the suffering of ordinary citizens.

Source: ZeroHedge

Venezuela Plunged Back Into Darkness Hours After Russian Troops Arrive

Less than one day after two Russian Air Force planes landed in Venezuela carrying nearly 100 troops and a Russian defense official, a new power outage was detected across the country at 1pm local time, affecting 57% of the country, according to Netblocks – which detects power outage based on internet outages. 

Today marks the third power outage this month, which began on March 7. In response to the earlier outages, Venezuela’s Defense Ministry vowed to deploy armed forces to protect the national electricity system. 

President Nicolás Maduro blamed Washington for the earlier outages, claiming over Twitter that the Trump administration was engaged in an “electrical war” which was “announced and directed by American imperialism against our people.” 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied the charge. 

As we reported earlier, Russian Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, touched down in Venezuela yesterday. A Venezuelan official told AP that the visit was to discuss training, strategy and equipment.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/FNjW8wH0tIs-1024x533_0.jpg?itok=SjewiSmbShortly after the Russians arrived, an S-300 air defense missile defense battery was deployed to a key airbase south of Caracas.

In response to what is now looking like a setup for yet another proxy war, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior.

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According to Reuters Pompeo conveyed the message directly via a phone call with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Spokesman Robert Palladino addressed the phone call in the following statement:

The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela.

Palladino added that Pompeo specifically condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.” 

As we reported previously this week’s tensions follows a high-level meeting in Rome last week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – thus it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

And just like that, the power goes out. 

Source: ZeroHedge

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Maduro Allegedly Foils US Assassination Plot Against Him That Used BofA Funds 

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“The North American imperialism wants to kill me.”

Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

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“We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

Venezuela Military Deploys S-300 Missiles Following Russian Troop Arrival

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Satellite images reveal new S-300 build-up south of Caracas.

 

 

Cyberattacks, Solar Storms, & EMP Weapons: US Power Grid Extremely Vulnerable, Extended Blackout Is Inevitable

A lot of Americans are mocking Venezuela right now, but the truth is that what has happened to them could also happen to us very easily. 

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(Michael Snyder) As you will see below, DARPA is so concerned about the possibility of a cyberattack taking down our power grid that they held an extended exercise recreating such a scenario late last year.  And even though scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a “solar tsunami” will absolutely devastate our power grid at some point, our leaders on the federal level refuse to spend the money that it would take to protect our basic electrical infrastructure.  In addition, Russia, China, North Korea and others have developed extremely advanced EMP weapons, and we have absolutely no protection against them.  One way or another, an extended blackout will eventually happen in the United States, and so we should try to learn some lessons from what is going on in Venezuela right now.

And without a doubt, life is hell in Venezuela at this moment.  The following comes from NPR

Signs of the crisis are everywhere you look in the Venezuelan capital. “Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational,” NPR’s Philip Reeves reported from the city.

“Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street,” Reeves added.

The power outage has affected water pumps in some Caracas neighborhoods, meaning that people are waiting to fill water bottles at public locations such as springs.

As food supplies run out, people are becoming increasingly desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.

Hundreds of stores are being looted, and the overwhelmed police are instructing store owners to fend for themselves

Looters smashed shop windows and made off with merchandise in more than 300 businesses across the state along the border with Colombia, the Zulia chapter of business organization Fedecamaras said in a statement.

“About 100 people came into the store and took all the food, the point of sale terminals,” said Maria Centeno, 29, the owner of a store selling food and furniture that was looted on Sunday. “They were people from the community. The police came by and they told me to sort it out myself.”

Of even greater concern is the fact that many people are dying from a lack of medical care.

Without power, there is little that the doctors are able to do, and one mother was forced to actually carry the body of her dead daughter through the streets to a morgue after the local hospital was unable to help her

A severely malnourished 19-year-old girl died in her mother’s arms after doctors in Venezuela were forced to turn her away because a massive blackout shut down a hospital.

Heartbroken mother Elizabeth Díaz was forced to carry her daughter’s body, which weighed just 22 pounds, through the streets to a morgue.

A lot of Americans are mocking what is going on in Venezuela, but the truth is that the exact same thing could happen here too.

Many believe that the extended blackout in Venezuela was caused by a cyberattack, and unfortunately the truth is that the U.S. power grid is also quite vulnerable if someone decided to attack us in the same manner.

Last November, DARPA held a seven day exercise that simulated what would happen if a massive cyberattack suddenly took down our grid…

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exercise, which took place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, was fictional, but it was designed to mimic all the hurdles and uncertainty of a real-world cyberattack that took out power across the nation for weeks on end–a scenario known as a “black start.”

To add realism, the exercise took place on Plum Island, a federal research facility off the north fork of Long Island, where DARPA researchers were able to segregate a portion of the island on its own electric grid.

Over the course of the seven-day exercise, more than 100 people gathered on the island, filling every necessary role to mimic an actual black start.

Of course that is not the only way our power grid could go down for an extended period.

Our sun is capable of producing a “solar tsunami” that could absolutely cripple our electrical grid at any time.  Earlier this week, I came across an article about a gigantic solar tsunami that hit out planet approximately 2,700 years ago

Roughly 2,700 years ago, an unusually powerful solar storm swept past the Earth, scientists announced in a new study. Though it had little to no impact on people in that long ago, pre-industrial and pre-technological world, such an event today would cause widespread power outages along with potentially disastrous communication and navigation failures.

The solar storm in 660 B.C. was about 10 times stronger than any known event in the past 70 years, study lead author Raimund Muscheler said.

But we don’t have to go back that far to find the kind of solar storm that I am talking about.

In 1859, an absolutely enormous solar storm known as “the Carrington Event” hit the United States…

The solar storm of 1859 (also known as the Carrington Event)[1] was a powerful geomagnetic storm during solar cycle 10 (1855–1867). A solar coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record, September 1–2, 1859. The associated “white light flare” in the solar photosphere was observed and recorded by British astronomers Richard C. Carrington (1826–1875) and Richard Hodgson (1804–1872). The now-standard unique IAU identifier for this flare is SOL1859-09-01.

A solar storm of this magnitude occurring today would cause widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts and damage due to extended outages of the electrical grid.[2][3] The solar storm of 2012 was of similar magnitude, but it passed Earth’s orbit without striking the planet, missing by nine days.[4]

If such a storm hit us right now, electronic devices would be fried from coast to coast and the power grid would be down for the foreseeable future.  Life would dramatically change for all of us, and chaos would be unleashed all across this nation.

This is just one of the reasons why I so strongly encourage people to get prepared, because our government is most definitely not preparing for this kind of threat.

Lastly, I want to also mention that Russia, China and North Korea have been developing highly sophisticated “Super-EMP weapons” that we have no defense for.  The following is from the Washington Free Beacon

Several nations, including China and Russia, are building powerful nuclear bombs designed to produce super-electromagnetic pulse (EMP) waves capable of devastating all electronics—from computers to electric grids—for hundreds of miles, according to a newly-released congressional study.

A report by the now-defunct Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack, for the first time reveals details on how nuclear EMP weapons are integrated into the military doctrines of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

For much more on the threat that we are facing, please see my previous article entitled “Amerigeddon: Are You Ready For The Chaos That Will Ensue When The Power Grid Is Brought Down?”

Sadly, most Americans do not understand how vulnerable we are, and when the power suddenly goes out someday they will have no idea what is happening.

So keep a close eye on Venezuela right now, because the exact same things that are happening there will eventually happen here too.

It is just a matter of time.

Source: ZeroHedge

Sabotage Blamed For Grind Down In Venezuela

Venezuelan president says complete blackout caused by ‘an international cyber-attack’ with support from within.

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Maduro attended a rally in support of his government in Caracas on March 9 [Miraflores Palace/Reuters]

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says the country’s complete electrical failure has been caused by “an international cyber-attack” but that his administration has “defeated their coup”.

Power and communication outages continue to hit Venezuela on Sunday, intensifying the hardship of a country paralysed by economic and political crises.

The blackout heightened tensions between the opposition and government loyalists, who accuse each other of being responsible for the collapse of the power grid.

“I will tell this for the first time,” Maduro told the hushed crowd in Caracas on Saturday. “We are in the process of investigation and correcting it all because there are many infiltrators attacking the electrical company from within.”

Maduro stated that Venezuela had been hit yet again by another “cyber-attack” at noon on Saturday.

‘Permanent state of alert’

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Perez Carreno flagship hospital in Caracas, Lorelei Gorrin, an emergency surgeon, said she had just completed one of the toughest shifts of her life.

“I didn’t stop receiving patients. We could only help those who had life-threatening issues,” said Gorrin.

“The generator worked, but I was worried it would suddenly stop working. We don’t know when we’re going to lose power again, or how we’re going to deal with that. If we had to resort to manual respiratory aid devices, we would not have enough to help all those that need them.

“We’re in a permanent state of alert, which is mentally and emotionally draining,” she said.

Across Venezuela, millions of people are affected by the continued blackout.

Valeria Castillo, a 43-year-old actress, told Al Jazeera she briefly “escaped” her home where she takes care of her ailing parents to attend an opposition rally in the capital.

“The entire floor of the house is full of candle wax. My father is very old and sometimes soils himself and washing him has been a real pain with no power and no water as the pump does not work,” said Castillo.

Support for Maduro

Still, many Venezuelans continue to support Maduro in his ongoing fight against what he calls US imperialism.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators at a pro-Maduro rally danced and waved flags on what organisers labelled a “day of anti-imperialism”, in a show of defiance towards the US, which has imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to overthrow the president.

Many showed up wearing red caps and shirts in support of the self-proclaimed “socialist revolution” of leader Hugo Chavez, who died six years ago and was succeeded by his protege, Maduro.

Lidia Calderon, 37, joined the rally saying she relies on Maduro to fix the situation.

“He does what he can to maintain the peace. And it is very clear that the electricity [situation] is a war against the people,” said Calderon.

Maduro’s government has not moved directly against opposition leader Juan Guaido since he returned to Venezuela from a Latin American tour on Monday. 

But on Saturday, Maduro stepped up verbal attacks on Guaido, calling him “a clown and puppet” in a speech to his supporters outside Miraflores, the presidential palace.

He scoffed at Guaido’s claim in late January to be interim president of Venezuela, a declaration supported by the US and about 50 other countries.

“We have defeated their coup,” said Maduro. “They tried illegitimately to turn into a president a person in a public square and now, today, it is obvious to the world he is not a president, not anything. A clown and a puppet is what that man [Guaido] is. Delinquent citizen.”

Maduro also accused Guaido and his US allies of sabotaging Venezuela’s Guri Dam, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric stations and the cornerstone of Venezuela’s electrical grid.

He said authorities had restored 70 percent of power in Venezuela since a nationwide outage hit late Thursday, but progress was lost on Saturday when “infiltrators” allegedly struck again.

The Venezuelan opposition and US officials say Maduro’s attempts to pin blame on his political adversaries is absurd, and that government corruption and mismanagement over many years caused the blackout and wider deterioration of the economy.

In another blow to Venezuela’s infrastructure, an explosion occurred at a power station in the country’s Bolivar state on Saturday, according to local media.

Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, said on Saturday that the second outage had knocked out almost all of Venezuela’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Source: Al Jazeera News

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“This Country Has Gone To Hell”: Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout

“They’re pulling wires, air conditioners, pipes… they’re literally running off with the roof.’’

Looters Pillage Venezuela Supermarkets As Crippling Blackout Hits Day Five

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Trump Regime Electricity War in Venezuela More Serious Than First Believed

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China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

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“An imperialist electromagnetic attack”