Maduro alleges cyber attack on energy facility following blackout

Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro alleged that one of the country’s energy facilities came under a cyber attack on Saturday (local time), leading to the disruption of efforts in restoring electricity supply across the Latin American nation.

Venezuela, which is currently in the throes of a political crisis, experienced an almost total blackout last week which left 22 out of the 23 states in the country without electricity.

Maduro accused the opposition, led by Juan Guaido, of orchestrating the attack on Venezuela’s power supply system.

“Today we have restored power supply in 70 per cent of the country’s territory, but at noon, another cyber attack was committed against one of the facilities, which until then worked perfectly. For this reason, all the progress we had achieved by mid-afternoon was interrupted,” Sputnik quoted the President as saying.

“They used high-tech weapons…extremists from the opposition are the authors and perpetrators of these attacks against the country, and they used high-tech technologies that only the US government has in the world…These attacks were carried out with the use of high scientific achievements, there were electromagnetic attacks against national electric lines,” Maduro added.

The electricity disruption hit Venezuela on Thursday, with national electricity supplier Corpoelec alleging a “sabotage” at the Guri hydroelectric power plant.

Maduro had earlier blamed the United States for the blackout – a claim which has been rejected by Washington.

Meanwhile, rival rallies were held in Caracas on Saturday. Anti-government protesters asked for Maduro to step down, while pro-government supporters called for the United States to stop “sabotaging” and interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

“I am tired (of this situation). We can’t continue like this. I lost hope before, but now I believe change is possible,” Rosa Soriano, an opposition demonstrator, told Al Jazeera.

Hospitals across Venezuela were largely affected due to the blackouts. An NGO, called Doctors for Health, claims that 13 people lost their lives due to the blackouts alone.

Furthermore, hundreds of passengers were left stranded as flights were cancelled at Caracas’ Simón Bolívar International Airport owing to the electricity disruption.