Fact Check

Did Marco Rubio Confuse Reporter Named Germán Dam with a Location?

This incident didn't take place at a German dam. It was reported on by Germán Dam.

Published Jul 29, 2021

Marco Rubio once mistook a reporter named Germán Dam for the location of an explosion in Venezuela.

While this viral image documents a genuine exchange on Twitter, it should be noted that these tweets are from 2019. It should also be noted that Rubio subsequently claimed that this was a typo, not a case of mistaken identity, as he meant to write "according to Germán Dam."

In July 2021, a viral image supposedly showing a tweet sent by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in which he claimed that a massive blackout had been caused by an explosion "at the German Dam in Bolivar State" went viral on social media.

But the virality of this tweet wasn't based on the newsworthiness of the blackout. Rather, it went viral because Germán Dam was the name of the reporter who penned the article, not the location of the explosion:

This is a genuine exchange between Rubio and reporter Germán Dam about the non-existent "German Dam" in Venezuela. While this image was widely circulated in July 2021, this is not the first time that the internet has had a laugh at this exchange. In fact, these tweets were originally posted back in March 2019.

Another journalist with the same first name, German Lopez, reported for Vox at the time:

My confusing first name has done it again. This time, it led to a minor gaffe by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Some background: Since last week, Venezuela has seen massive power outages, rooted in the country’s poor maintenance of its electricity network and problems originating in the Guri hydroelectric plant. It’s yet another sign of the abysmal state the country is in under the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro.

Rubio tweeted about the news over the weekend — claiming in a now-deleted tweet that the blackout was caused by “another transformer explosion at the German Dam in Bolivar State.” But the tweet got a big thing wrong: This was not due to problems at Venezuela’s “German Dam.” Germán Dam, instead, is the name of a journalist who reported the story about the power outages.

Rubio has since deleted his tweet, but an archived version can be seen here. Dam's response is still live.

It should also be noted that Rubio clamed that this erroneous message was posted not because he confused the reporter's name with a location, but because he meant to write "according to Germán Dam." After this exchange initially went viral, Rubio posted the following message on Twitter:

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.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.