19 de mayo de 2019
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Hispanic World

Venezuela asks Interpol to arrest 3 for attack on electricity grid

Caracas, Apr 23 (efe-epa).- The government of Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday asked Interpol to capture three Venezuelan citizens it says are in the United States, Spain and Colombia, accusing them of being involved in the alleged "attack" on the country's electricity grid on March 7, for which five people are already in custody, the Caracas government said.

 Photo provided by Venezuela's Miraflores government headquarters showing Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez on April 23, 2019, announcing that the Nicolas Maduro regime has asked Interpol to capture three men thought to be responsible for the March 7 power blackout and living abroad in the US, Spain and Colombia. EFE-EPA/MIRAFLORES Press Office/ Editorial Use Only / No Sales

Photo provided by Venezuela's Miraflores government headquarters showing Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez on April 23, 2019, announcing that the Nicolas Maduro regime has asked Interpol to capture three men thought to be responsible for the March 7 power blackout and living abroad in the US, Spain and Colombia. EFE-EPA/MIRAFLORES Press Office/ Editorial Use Only / No Sales

Caracas, Apr 23 (efe-epa).- The government of Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday asked Interpol to capture three Venezuelan citizens it says are in the United States, Spain and Colombia, accusing them of being involved in the alleged "attack" on the country's electricity grid on March 7, for which five people are already in custody, the Caracas government said.

"Involved are Mr. Julio Cesar Acuña Nuñez, Interpol has already been asked about him, because do you know where he's living now? In the United States. Mr. Ramon Oswaldo Garcia Garcia, also ... because do you know where he's living right now? In Spain," said Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez.

In remarks to state-run VTV television, Rodriguez also said that the Maduro government had asked Interpol to arrest Miguel Angel Jose Freitas, who "currently lives in Colombia" and works at "a cybersecurity company that has a direct connection with elements of the Colombian right."

Rodriguez spoke sarcastically about the alleged fact that these three people are in the abovementioned countries, two of which - the US and Colombia - are regularly pointed to by the Maduro regime as being behind efforts to topple it.

Rodriguez said that Venezuelan authorities have arrested five people for the March 7 "attack" on the electricity grid that paralyzed the country for five days.

Among those five detainees he mentioned Otoniel Ramos Sanchez, who - he said - "was directly involved in the ... attack on the brain" of the country's main Guri hydroelectric plant.

"He was already indicted by the Public Ministry and at this time he has been responding to questions from the Public Ministry and he's given us a great deal of intelligence about who was involved in the process," he said.

In addition, Rodriguez said that Venezuelan authorities are looking for Jesus Rodriguez Landoni, a hydroelectric worker, whom the Maduro government has accused of being directly involved in the March 25 power outage.

"As relatives and associates tell us, he is in the US and lives in the home of a US Armed Forces officer ... an officer with the Air Force," Rodriguez said.

The minister said that from March 7 through Tuesday the National Electric System (SEN) has suffered more than "45 attacks of a minor nature," adding that in the last two years more than 50 percent of the country's more than 500 electric substations have been "sabotaged" and have experienced fires.

Despite that, he said that experts dealing with the situation are "quite close to achieving a lasting equilibrium" in nationwide electricity service, given that since March 31 the government has been implementing a plan to ration power service.

The Maduro government says that the US and the domestic opposition staged a cyber-attack last March on the electricity grid and used a long-range sniper rifle to attack the Guri plant, knocking out power to almost the entire country.

However, experts say that the power failures were due to poor maintenance of the electric plants and a lack of investment in the system, a version that the opposition supports, adding that what happened is also a product of corruption at the state-run Electricity Corporation.

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