Venezuela is experiencing a blackout that has lasted for the past six days. People are standing in long lines to fill buckets from water trucks. Hospitals are running on generators. People are running out of food. Most forms of communication, including cell phones and the internet, are down.
The Venezuelan government has said that the blackout is caused by a cyber attack, but journalists remain skeptical. There have been issues with power shortages going on for the past ten years and this could be the most egregious example. There are concerns that the issue may really be structural problems with the Guri hydroelectric dam that powers the nation, and if those can’t be resolved then there is no clear way out of the crisis. That does not stop the government from blaming the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, from creating the crisis.
As reported by the New York Times:
The Venezuelan authorities on Tuesday began investigating the leader of the opposition and detained a prominent journalist, claiming they had played a role in the supposed sabotage of the country’s electrical system. Government critics said it was an effort to deflect blame for a four-day national power failure.
Attorney General Tarek Saab accused Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who leads a parallel government backed by the United States and about 50 other countries, of masterminding the blackout. He provided no evidence.
Hours earlier, intelligence police detained a prominent radio producer and social media activist, Luis Carlos Díaz, as he rode his bike home from work, according to his wife, Naky Soto. He was charged with inciting violence and freed on parole a day later.
While the crisis continues, China has offered their resources and technical expertise to help resolve the blackout. Both the Chinese and Russian government have backed the Venezuelan government and they seem to back the government’s assertion that a cyber attack was the culprit.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had noted reports that the power grid had gone down due to a hacking attack.
“China is deeply concerned about this,” Lu said. “China hopes that the Venezuelan side can discover the reason for this issue as soon as possible and resume normal power supply and social order. China is willing to provide help and technical support to restore Venezuela’s power grid.”
We will have more on this as it develops.