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Venezuelan government official claims without evidence that Marco Rubio is orchestrating massive power outages
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Venezuelan government official claims without evidence that Marco Rubio is orchestrating massive power outages

Perhaps predictably, he offered no proof to back up his accusation

Venezuela's Communications Minister, Jorge Rodríguez, has claimed that the widespread power outages currently plaguing his country were ordered by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). But he gave no evidence to back up his claim.

What happened?

On Thursday, the Venezuelan people, who have suffered under the socialist regime of President Nicolás Maduro, were hit by widespread blackouts that affected most of the country. These outages continued on Friday. Maduro closed schools and government agencies, and ordered businesses to stay closed until the power came back on.

That same day, Rubio, who has vocally supported Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, predicted that global sanctions on Iran would cause Venezuela to "enter a period of suffering, no nation in our hemisphere has ever confronted in modern history."

"As of today, Venezuela has 6, 7 days of fuel supplies left," he said, according to WFOR-TV. "This in the most oil rich country in the world all because they've destroyed the domestic production capacity."

Guaidó, formerly the leader of the country's National Assembly, was declared president using guidelines set out in the Venezuelan constitution after Maduro won a second term in what the U.S. and other nations have denounced as a sham election. Maduro has violently prevented international aid from reaching his starving people, because he believes allowing these supply shipments would undermine his hold on power.

Apparently, this was enough for Rodríguez to pin the outages on an act of sabotage orchestrated by Rubio himself, something Rodríguez called "a criminal action." Maduro echoed these comments, saying that the "[t]he electricity war declared and directed by U.S. imperialism against our people will be defeated."

Guaidó blamed Maduro for the outages, saying that the blackout was "evidence of the usurper's inefficiency."

On Twitter, Rubio mocked the accusations, calling Rodríguez "the Baghdad Bob of Caracas," referring to Saddam Hussein's information minister, who infamously gave false reports of Iraqi victory as American troops took Baghdad.

"My apologies to people of Venezuela," he tweeted. "I must have pressed the wrong thing on the 'electronic attack' app I downloaded from Apple. My bad."

Rubio also tweeted a GIF of Godzilla, jokingly suggesting that perhaps the fictional monster had been behind the power outages.

He also joined Guaidó in blaming the outages on Maduro's regime. "#MaduroCrimeFamily stole all the money they should have invested in maintaining the power grid. Now #Venezuela is on its 14th hour of a nationwide blackout. God help the babies in incubators & dialysis patients & others for whom this is life threatening," he tweeted.

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