On Twitter, Florida Senator Marco Rubio – who has been called the architect of the American plan to intervene in Venezuela – has been very concerned about the political and humanitarian crisis, tweeting about the state of the country some 16 times over the weekend. The number would be higher, but Rubio deleted a post from Sunday in which he claimed that a transformer at the “German Dam in Bolivar State” exploded, causing blackouts that reportedly killed critically ill patients.
One journalist covering the power struggle in Venezuela responded with an embarrassing correction, explaining that a transformer did explode in Bolivár, but that “it was not in a dam, much less german. My name is Germán Dam, I am one of the journalists who published the information.”
Electricity outages are fairly common is Venezuela – critics cite years of official corruption and intermittent infrastructure updates for the problem. Last week, however, President Nicolás Maduro claimed that outages were caused by “the electric war announced and directed by American imperialism against our people.” In January, the Trump administration officially backed opposition figure Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader, and last month, Trump said that “all options are open” regarding U.S. intervention.
Rubio, the senator for the state where almost half of the U.S.-Venezuelan population lives, has taken a hawkish, interventionist stance in the leadership crisis in Venezuela, and was even drawn into the controversy over the power outages: Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez claimed that Rubio was involved in a cyberattack on the operating system of a different hydroelectric dam that blew up over the weekend. Rubio, not above an online beef, called Rodriguez the “Baghdad Bob” of Caracas.