Venezuela Arrests Five, Seeks Extradition of Three Others Over Power Outages

Venezuelan authorities have arrested five people and seek to extradite three more over charges of sabotage of the Venezuelan electrical grid, which led to massive power outages beginning 7 March, Bloomberg reports, citing Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez.

The alleged attacks on power lines and the Guri Dam hydroelectric plant’s transformers plunged most of the country into darkness, disrupting supplies of food, clean water, fuel and medicine.

The Venezuelan government has identified a total of 19 people responsible for 45 “minor attacks” on the power grid, including direct sabotage of the infrastructure and setting up wildfires in order to damage power lines, Rodriguez said at a press conference Monday.
The minister added that the government is close to “permanently stabilizing electricity service.”

“This has been the most brutal and criminal attack against a population,” Rodriguez said. “The Maduro government is facing terrorists and defeating them.”

Venezuela will also seek assistance from Interpol in order to find suspects in Colombia, Spain and the US, he added.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido relied on power outages heavily in his effort to rile up public unrest to oust legitimate President Nicolas Maduro. Caracas blamed the opposition and the US for the Guri Dam attack. The US and its allies recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, while Russia, China, Turkey and a number of other countries continue to recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

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