Once in while there are good news:
–Venezuelan baseball pitcher Johan Santana, who plays for the Minnesota twins, won the Cy Young award in the AL unanimously for the second time (award and unanimously) in his short career. Santana is only 27 and comes from humble origins in the Andes region of Venezuela. Rags to riches success story, the best of the best. Great story! Let’s hope the autocrat’s plan to eliminate private sports does not destroy these type of feats in the future.Hopefully he will not even have a chance to try.
–Albero Barrera, whom I know and have translated in this blog, won the Herralde award for novels.Barrera’s book “La Enfermedad” (The Illness) will be published by the end of the month. He is part of a new generations of novelists from Venezuela who has thrived under the autocracy, as financing for writers has disappeared in the last few years. It is somewhat of a puzzle that a Government with no intellectuals that has promoted “popular” culture, is at the same time seeing novelists like Barrera, and Federico Vegas in “Faulke” and many others, thrive.
–I had never understood why the “new” PDVSA completely eliminated the vehicle Natural Gas plan in Venezuela. Given the size of the gasoline subsidy (More than US$ 12 billion a year), which mostly goes to the middle class and higher, natural gas made perfect sense for Venezuela. Despite this, in 2000 the Chavez administration did away with it, without explaining the reasons. Today it is being revived as 2,500 Kms. of cars were added this year to Venezuelan roads, thanks to the gasoline and car subsidy (via official US$ for the importation of cars). This makes sense, I am glad somebody in Government thought of bringing it back. As I have said before, if the Government paid for the conversion kit, it would save money within a year by freeing gasoline prices to the FOB price.It used to take me eight minutes to drive to work, it takes me at east half an hour and sometime san hour to get to work these days. (Presidential candidate Claudio Fermin had this in his Government plan in 1993, he wanted to have the Government pay for everyone’s kit conversion and float gasoline prices.)