The Venezuelan armed forces announced Monday that they will strengthen security at the installations of state-owned public companies after a new assertion that the explosion a year ago at a refinery was sabotage.

"They are always detecting signs of sabotage" at the petroleum and electric industries, and so the military is undertaking "broad coordination" with the authorities and the workers, the head of the military's Operational Strategic Command, Gen. Vladimir Padrino, told state-run television.

"It's not a secret to anybody that the electric system has been the target of sabotage" and that also must be dealt with by "strengthening ... the workers militias," and so "I have given instructions to strengthen the militia in Corpoelec," Padrino added alluding to the state-run electricity company.

President Nicolas Maduro in May ordered top military officers to help create the Workers Militias "for the defense of national sovereignty" and also as an element to guarantee, he said, the "stability of the Bolivarian Revolution."

This past weekend, on the one-year anniversary of the explosion at a refinery that left almost 50 dead, more than 100 injured and millions of dollars in losses, Maduro said that the accident was an act of sabotage, which he blamed on "desperate sectors" of the opposition.

The opposition denied the accusations against it and blamed the petroleum accidents and the repeated power outages mainly on negligence and the alleged lack of investment in maintenance.

"We're ready to defend the industry from all points of view" and, to do that, "we must unite ourselves even more with the National Bolivarian Armed Force and confront what needs to be confronted," the president of the Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela, Willis Rangel, told reporters. EFE