Citizen Action Monitor

Letter to Minister Freeland re false allegation Maduro regime is “exclusively responsible” for blackout

The allegation, posted by Global Affairs Canada, was authored by the Lima Group, of which Canada is a leading member.

No 2451 Posted by fw, March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

Dear Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Regarding the March 10, 2019 Statement posted by Global Affairs Canada, authored by the Lima Group, that “the illegitimate Maduro regime is exclusively responsible for the collapse of the Venezuelan electrical system, absent irrefutable evidence that the Maduro regime is “illegitimate”, and that it is “exclusively responsible” for the collapse of the country’s electrical system, both allegations are unsubstantiated and unworthy of serious consideration.

First, to the allegation that the Maduro regime is “illegitimate”, in what sense is it illegitimate? Or are responsibly informed Canadians expected to simply accept that whatever the biased Lima Group says is Gospel? The fact is, Nicolás Maduro won re-election in the May 20, 2018 presidential election, with sixty-eight percent of the vote. He is the elected President of Venezuela.  For an informed discussion of the election results, see Maduro Wins the Presidency in Venezuela – What Will the US Do Next?  by The Real News Network, May 22, 2018. – “Opposition candidate Henri Falcon cries foul. We speak with journalist Lucas Koerner of Venezuelanalysis, election observer Roger Harris, and Venezuela analyst Greg Wilpert about the legitimacy of the results, and what is next for Venezuela.”

Turning next to the Lima Group’s unsubstantiated allegation that the “Maduro regime is exclusively responsible for the collapse of the Venezuelan electrical system, investigative reporter Max Blumenthal’s evidence-based account exposed that a US-funded group trained Juan Guaidó and his allies, and produced a 2010 memo on exploiting electricity outages, urging the opposition “to take advantage of the situation.

Fast forward to March 2019, and the scenario outlined in the 2010 memo plays out almost exactly as scripted. Consider the seemingly orchestrated timeline of events during March 7-9, 2019.

According to Blumenthal, at around 5:00 PM on March 7, the Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant experienced a total and still unexplained collapse. Residents of Caracas and throughout Venezuela were immediately plunged into darkness.

Five hours earlier, at noon on March 7, during a hearing on Venezuela at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Sen. Marco Rubio explicitly called for the US to stir “widespread unrest,” declaring that it “needs to happen” in order to achieve regime change. Rubio proclaimed: “Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history.

At 5:18 PM, a clearly excited Rubio took to Twitter to announce the blackout and claim that “backup generators have failed.It was unclear how Rubio had obtained such specific information so soon after the outage occurred. According to Jorge Rodriguez, the communications minister of Venezuela, local authorities did not know if backup generators had failed at the time of Rubio’s tweet.

Taking to Twitter just over an hour after Rubio, Guaidó declared, “the light will return when the usurpation [of Maduro] ends.” The self-declared president Guaidó framed the blackouts as part of a regime change strategy, not an accident or error.

Two days later, Guaidó was at the center of an opposition rally he convened in affluent eastern Caracas, bellowing into a megaphone: “Article 187 when the time comes. We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else.”

Article 187 establishes the right of the National Assembly “to authorize the use of Venezuelan military missions abroad or foreign in the country.

Upon his mention of the constitutional article, Guaidó’s supporters responded, “Intervention! Intervention!

Minister Freeland, will you bring this matter forward to other members of the Lima Group and request that they retract the unsubstantiated March 10, 2019 Statement?

These kinds of revelations of truth over propaganda are eroding the credibility of your government’s Venezuelan foreign policy.

I welcome your response to my letter.

As well, an acknowledgement of receipt would be much appreciated, especially coming from a government that promised Canadians transparency, openness and improved communication with citizens.

Yours truly,

Frank White, etc.

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