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Marco Rubio’s tweet about Venezuela could not have been more inaccurate
‘My name is Germán Dam.’
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) Saturday tweeted about a power failure in Venezuela’s Bolivar state, which he claimed was started by an explosion at the German Dam.
“Today another transformer explosion at the German Dam in Bolivar State caused another massive blackout. The result? Critically ill patients have died, the #Caracas metro remains out of service & few if any flights have arrived at or departed from Caracas in over 20 hours.”
There was only one big problem with his claim.
While there was a massive power outage in Venezuela, it has nothing to do with a German dam; Germán Dam is the name of a journalist who reported on the story.
Oh my god. pic.twitter.com/hcPdCtqTme
— Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) March 10, 2019
Dam tweeted at the senator, “an important transformer exploded in Bolivar and that, in part, again collapsed the Venezuelan Electric System; However it was not in a dam, much less german. My name is German Dam, I am one of the journalists who published the information.”
Rubio has positioned himself as an expert and voice of the Venezuelan opposition, tweeting about protests and medical crises caused by the blackout.
Rubio backtracked on Monday, replying to Dam’s correction.
“Sorry @GEDV86 I meant to type ‘Today another transformer explosion in Bolivar State caused another massive blackout according to German Dam.’ It was a thread & I usually go back & add the twitter handle before tweeting. This one I pressed ‘tweet all’ before I checked.”
I meant to type “Today another transformer explosion in Bolivar State caused another massive blackout according to German Dam.” It was a thread & I usually go back & add the twitter handle before tweeting. This one I pressed “tweet all” before I checked.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 11, 2019
Blackouts in the South American country continued Monday. The Maduro regime has blamed the “the electric war announced and directed by American imperialism against our people” for the blackout, according to Newsweek.
The country’s Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodríguez specifically called out Rubio, saying he was responsible for the “criminal action” against Venezuela’s electrical system, according to NPR.
Rubio responded, “My apologies to people of Venezuela,” Rubio tweeted. “I must have pressed the wrong thing on the ‘electronic attack’ app I downloaded from Apple. My bad.”
My apologies to people of Venezuela. I must have pressed the wrong thing on the “electronic attack” app I downloaded from Apple. My bad. https://t.co/5oZURMSnrB
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 8, 2019
The Daily Dot reached out to Germán Dam for comment but did not receive a response by press time. Sen. Rubio’s spokesperson pointed to the senator’s tweet on Monday as an explanation for the gaffe.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.