AP NEWS

Venezuelan oil chief blames fire on opposition

February 20, 2019

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s oil minister is blaming a fire at an important oil pumping station on opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maj. Gen. Manuel Quevedo says Tuesday’s fire at the Ero Station in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt region was extinguished without human injuries.

On Wednesday, he blamed the blaze on the “opposition right” and noted it occurred hours after a “warlike” speech by U.S. President Donald Trump warning Venezuelan soldiers to abandon Maduro and back challenger Juan Guaido.

Venezuelan officials have frequently blamed fires or outages in oil or electrical installations on sabotage. Critics of the socialist government say most are caused by a lack of maintenance.

The Trump administration has recently slapped PDVSA with sanctions, attempting to deprive Maduro’s government of billions and force him from power.