The memo, by the same organisation that trained Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido, said that the collapse of the country’s electrical sector could become “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate”.
Almost a decade later, Guaido has been trying to exploit nationwide blackouts caused by a major failure at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam. Venezuela’s government blames the power crisis on US sabotage.
Authored by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), the memo by the Belgrade-based “democracy promotion” organisation funded by the US government, seeks regime change.
In the memo, Popovic explicitly identified the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant as a strategic key point. He warned of the “grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010″. He urged the opposition to exploit the crisis.
The scenario outlined by Popovic is being played out almost exactly as planned, because on March 7, the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant experienced a major and as yet unexplained collapse.
On the same day, during a hearing on Venezuela at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, US Senator Marco Rubio openly called for “widespread unrest” that “needs to happen” in order to achieve regime change.
“Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history,” Rubio claimed. Meanwhile countrywide electricity blackouts have been reported, while, Guaido is doing his utmost “to take advantage of the situation and spin it” against President Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuelan government has accused Washington of launching a cyber-attack on its electrical infrastructure.
Around 5 pm, the hydroelectric plant broke down, plunging large parts of the country into darkness. A short 18 minutes later, a clearly excited Rubio took to Twitter to announce that “backup generators have failed” too. It is not clear how Rubio came to know the details of the power failure so soon. Because, according to Jorge Rodriguez, the communications minister of Venezuela, local authorities did not know if backup generators had failed at the time of Rubio’s tweet.
An hour after Rubio’s exited tweet, Guaido declared, “the light will return when the usurpation [of Maduro] ends”.
Guaido has been inciting unrest ever since: “Article 187 when the time comes. We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else.” His supporters chanted in response: “Intervention! Intervention!”
CANVAS has been funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, CANVAS “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle”.
A leaked email from a Stratfor staffer stated that “CANVAS… or in other words a ‘export-a-revolution’ group sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions.”