Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced Wednseday that phase two of the country’s military exercises would begin as early as Friday.
Sputnik said local news reports show large-scale military exercises will start in 24 to 48 hours, will be used to secure the country’s power grids and water supply systems.
“This coming weekend, the military drills dubbed Ana Karina Rote are being resumed at their second stage,” Rodriguez was quoted on the state-run television on Wednseday. The first stage of the drills, dubbed Angostura, was held between February 10 and 15 to practice repelling an American invasion.
The news comes after Venezuela suffered a devastating blackout that left the country paralyzed. The crisis started on March 7 with a system failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant, which produces 80% of the country’s power.
Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said two people had been detained on suspicion of attempted sabotage of the country’s power system, adding that Washington carried out the attack.
President Maduro said the blackout is an “electric war announced and directed by American imperialism.”
He said electrical systems were targeted by cyber attacks and “infiltrators.” He added that government forces restored power to “many parts” of the country on March 8, but was quickly knocked out again by a new wave of attacks. He noted that “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly” had been sabotaged and accused “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”
In the last 60 to 90 days, Venezuela has faced deep political turmoil. Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly in early January, which the Maduro government rejected recognizing since 2016.
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