Massive Venezuela Power Outage Raises Tensions Amid Crisis; Nicolas Maduro Blames Historic Blackout On U.S. Sabotage, Cyberattacks

VENEZUELA – Venezuela’s embattled socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and his subordinates blamed the country’s widespread power outages on sabotage, cyberattacks and even Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Maduro’s rival Juan Guaido called the crisis “evidence of the usurper’s inefficiency” Friday.

Maduro’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said right-wing extremists taking order from Rubio were behind the blackout that hit 22 of the country’s 23 states, reported Reuters. Rodriguez characterized the blackout as a “cyber” attack.

Rubio responded to Rodriguez’s accusation with sarcasm Thursday on Twitter.

“My apologies to people of Venezuela. I must have pressed the wrong thing on the ‘electronic attack’ app I downloaded from Apple. My bad,” he wrote.

The blackout even hit the country’s capital Caracas, killing the city’s subway system and causing thousands of commuters to walk home “on foot, their walks lit only by mobile phones and the stars,” reported NPR.

Maduro was quick to blame the U.S.

“The electricity war declared and directed by U.S. imperialism against our people will be defeated,” Maduro said, according to NPR. “Nothing and nobody will vanquish the people of Bolivar and Chavez.”

Guaido disagreed.

“This blackout is evidence of the usurper’s inefficiency,” he said. “The recovery of the electric sector and the country comes by stopping the usurpation.”

More than 40 people have been killed during protests since Guaido declared himself the country’s leader instead of Maduro on Jan. 23. Much of the military is still with Maduro, leading Guaido to offer its members amnesty should it abandon Maduro’s government, reported Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Maduro and recognized Guaido in January, as did other countries, including Brazil and Canada.

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