WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
A few short hours later, a massive blackout blanketed much of the South American nation in darkness.
The lights were out in Caracas and much of Venezuela Thursday night. It was pitch black, no street lights or traffic signals as evening commuters made their way home.
The electricity minister called the blackout an act of sabotage at Venezuela’s main hydro power station in the state of Bolivar.
Earlier in the day on Capitol Hill, Florida senator Marco Rubio chaired the subcommittee hearing that heard testimony from the Trump administration’s point man on Venezuela.
Elliott Abrams is the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela.
He testified before congress that there are no U.S. plans to intervene militarily but repeated that all options are on the table when it comes to removing Nicolás Maduro from power.
“They deserve a return to democracy,” Abrams said. “We cannot address the root cause of the problem, so long as Maduro and his cronies continue to crush the people, their economy and their hope. This crisis will worsen.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio predicted the Maduro regime will be crippled by increased sanctions.
“Over the next few weeks, Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering, no nation in our hemisphere has ever confronted in modern history,” he said.
Rubio blames Maduro for the economic crisis facing the oil rich nation, and wants to see Juan Guaidó step in as interim president.
“As of today, Venezuela has 6, 7 days of fuel supplies left,” Rubio said. “This in the most oil rich country in the world all because they’ve destroyed the domestic production capacity.”
Guaidó returned to Venezuela Monday after risking arrest by leaving to visit several South American nations who want to see Maduro gone.
He’s called on his countrymen to continue taking to the streets to keep the pressure on Maduro and his supporters.