Huge Blackout in Argentina. Did the Country Get Nord Streamed?
March 6, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—On Wednesday, March 1, Argentina suffered a major power outage which left at least 20 million people, 40% of the population, without electricity in the middle of the worst heat wave the country has experienced in 20 years, as well as a devastating drought. Temperatures have been running as high as 35°C in some places. Large swaths of Metropolitan Buenos Aires and at least seven other provinces were affected and while some electricity was restored after a few hours the same day, power wasn’t fully restored in the country until two days later.
Thanks to years of disinvestment under the neoliberal Mauricio Macri government (2015-2019), Argentina’s electric grid is not in good shape, and smaller blackouts happen with some regularity. But Finance Minister Sergio Massa has already filed a criminal complaint with Judge Adrian Gonzalez Charvay calling for an investigation into three fires that had been deliberately set under a 500 KW high-tension transmission line outside the Buenos Aires Metropolitan area which caused it to catch fire. This in turn caused the shutdown of sections of the interconnected grid, requiring the Atucha I nuclear plant to be taken offline as a precautionary move. That removed 10,000 MW from the interconnected grid of the 25,000 MW that were in demand at that moment. Six million households were left in the dark.
Almost immediately circles linked to Macri started screaming that Atucha represented a grave “nuclear threat” to the country. Who needs nuclear energy?
The relevant question here is whether the blackout represents an attack on the nation’s civilian infrastructure that President Vladimir Putin warned could occur internationally were Seymour Hersh’s revelations about the U.S. role in blowing up Nord Stream not thoroughly investigated. Look at the threats that U.S. and Western geopolitical circles are making against the Peruvian port of Chancay that China is building. Look at the threats against Argentina that Rep. Maria Elvia Salazar (R-FL) made at the House Foreign Affairs Committee March 1 for daring to collaborate with China on space and military matters, charging it had “made a pact with the devil” and “should be forewarned” before it’s too late.
Julio De Vido, a former Planning Minister under the two Kirchner governments (2003-2015) and a participant in two Schiller Institute international conferences, told Radio Grafica on March 3:
“I think there are interests that want Argentina to abandon its nuclear plan and that’s why Atucha was named as the reason for the system’s failure. There’s a whole operation underway to try to reverse the agreements that we had signed with China and Russia for the building of three more nuclear plants. They try to link [nuclear plants] with corruption and dirty energy.”
He then pointedly added,
“We have to see how Germany will manage by returning to coal—on top of which the Yankees blew up the pipeline [Germany] had built with Russia to guarantee its supply,” referring to the Hersh revelations. The reality is that “there are U.S. interests that don’t want Argentina to develop in a sovereign manner. [Southern Command head Gen.] Laura Richardson said it very clearly—no lithium, no nuclear energy, no energy resources.”
As for blaming Atucha for the blackout, De Vido told La Politica Online that “Operation Atucha” has a geopolitical smell to it. The country is about to complete its enriched uranium plant which is 100% Argentine; and finishing its CAREM small modular reactor prototype, “and the nuclear powers don’t like that. It worries the Southern Command. Blaming Atucha was no casual mistake.”