China on Wednesday offered to help Venezuela as it faces a crippling multi-day power blackout that President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on the United States.
“China hopes that Venezuela can quickly find the cause of this accident and restore normal power and social order,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular briefing.
“China is willing to offer assistance and technical support to Venezuela to restore the power system,” Lu said.
Power has been restored to some areas in Venezuela since the weekend, but the supply has been intermittent and often drops out.
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Maduro called for support from allies including Russia and China as well as the United Nations in investigating the U.S. “cyber attack” he said was responsible for the blackout.
Lu said China was “very concerned” about reports of a cyber attack, but declined to directly blame the U.S.
“This I’m afraid can only be clarified and explained by the party accused by President Maduro,” Lu said.
Businesses and schools remained shuttered on Maduro’s orders, as they have been since the blackout began.
While Maduro pointed the finger at Washington, critics have long blamed the government for failing to maintain the power grid.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, 35, is seeking to capitalize on public anger over the blackout, which has piled misery on a population suffering years of economic crisis and shortages of food and medicine.
On Tuesday, the independent online news publication, the Greyzone Project, published a 2010 memo originally obtained by WikiLeaks from a Washington-funded think tank that suggests the Venezuelan opposition should “take advantage” of electrical outages and “spin” the situation against the government and “towards their needs.”
CANVAS – the group the produced the memo – reportedly trained Guaido on tactics to defeat “21st Century Socialism” in Venezuela.
The memo does not suggest that U.S. officials or Venezuelan opposition leaders should sabotage electrical facilities or otherwise cause outages, but asserts that a large-scale blackout would be “a watershed moment that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”
More on the Subject
Vicente Fernandez has not opened his freezer since the massive blackout began in Venezuela on Thursday. He wants to try to save everything that’s in there, but he’s starting to worry.
“I’m afraid it has all gone bad,” says Fernandez, a 54-year-old who sells telecoms equipment.
Venezuelans, already feeling the pinch due to food and medicine shortages, are suffering even more now that the power has gone down.