Conviasa tragedy not a surprise

September 18, 2010

The recent tragic plane crash of the Conviasa airplane in Puerto Ordaz is no surprise. In fact, many do not remember that this is not the first crash of this airline created by Chavez in 2004.

By now, there was another accident that has now forced the Government to ground all flights of the airline until “October”, but what is clear is that there had been plenty of warnings that could have avoided this tragedy.

The airline business is one of the most difficult ones to run both from the point of view of management and that of financing. In the end, Chavez made the same mistakes in Conviasa he made elsewhere, naming a string of buddy military officers with little managerial or airline experience.

There was no reason for the Venezuelan Government to enter a business which requires levels of efficiency never seen in Venezuela’s Government. There was no reason to subsidize Conviasa so that it could take people to Margarita Island, Syria and Teheran. Venezuela has too many problems to use scarce funds in an area that the private sector can fill. There are enough fools in the private sector that love airplanes to fill that role.

The problem is that innocent Venezuelans have died because of this. Reportedly it was the crews of the airplanes that forced the Government to shut down the airline. Even the authorities of Trinidad and Tobago have forbidden the airline from flying to that country.

Many years ago I wrote an article in a local newspaper saying the Government had no place in the airline business in Venezuela, I never got so much hate mail in my life! This confirms all of my thoughts at the time.

The problem is that, as usual, there will be total impunity in this case. The Government will not investigate who was responsible for this tragedy and much like so many other ones, it is the people of Venezuela who have to pay for this.

12 Responses to “Conviasa tragedy not a surprise”

  1. Daveed Says:

    Conviasa loses 737s due to non-payment:

  2. loroferoz Says:

    Probably NO government on earth has any business operating airlines.

    And it’s only because of such decades-old empty ideological conceit that we still have to pay too much for intercontinental flights and have to face reduced offerings from certain “hubs”.

    Thank goodness for the low-cost airlines of Europe! Bless them! They beat the traditional state behemoths five to one in price anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and the railroads by two to one.

    But it gets tragic when the level is Third-World. Here people die because of an empty ideological insistence on State monopoly and State privilege.

  3. island canuck Says:

    And they can’t be fired so everyone does virtually nothing.
    It’s not surprising that the country is collapsing under the weight of neglect.

  4. Juancho Says:

    concerned wrote: “Are they grounded until October to inspect and repair any mechanical problems in the fleet, or are they shut down until the crews that grounded the flights are replaced with new pilots off of the street?”

    This would be hilarious if it were not the truth – and a truth so plain and evident that for those actually living in Venezuela, it all a broken record. But few really and truly grasp the fact that, in terms of the “repair (of) any mechanical problems in the fleet,” the red shirts can simply not muster such an effort whatsoever. No chance. I’m in the states right now but I’ll called home today (had to use my kid’s cell phone number) and they said the land line hadn’t worked in five days. A trip to Cantv involved witnessing a riot when nobody at all could tell the 100 or so customers on hand what the problem was about an entire grid being down, or when it might be fixed. No body knew anything, a situation remedied by the authorities simply leaving the office with all the people still inside.

    The whole red shirt fandango has, in strictly practical terms, devoled into such a ship of fools that it’s a wonder it still floats at all. Granted, this is Latin America, and the public sector has always hobbled along pitifully. But that wasn’t so much because nobody could do anything, but rather, to get anything done, you had to fork over a little mordida, soborno, tajada, cohecho, coima, tarugo, juanillo, remojada, remojo, or just plain graft. Now, you can’t even pay someone off to buckle down because there’s no one who knows how, or knows anything.


  5. JGross Says:

    In the earlier Conviasa crash in Ecuador, newspaper had reported the warnings about the airplane BEFORE the crash occured.

    You can read it here as an example I was able to find in Bocaranda’s Runrunes, TWO MONTHS before the accident in Ecuador took place:

    Bocaranda’s report was on the same Conviasa cargo plane that crashed two months later. As you say, impunity runs rampant.

  6. concerned Says:

    Are they grounded until October to inspect and repair any mechanical problems in the fleet, or are they shut down until the crews that grounded the flights are replaced with new pilots off of the street? I have never flown Conviasa and can honestly say that I never will.

  7. island canuck Says:

    With all the energy of the government aimed at the election next weekend it is highly unlikely that this airline will return anytime soon.

    In the meantime salaries will continue to be paid, etc & more money will enter the huge toilet flushed away off into nothingness.

    What a country.

  8. Kepler Says:


    He is threatening but it has been slowly being pushed into some universities and I am not talking about the “técnicos médicos”, who don’t get even a single course on anatomy, as several physicians told me.

    When did you write that article? I read somewhere Venezuela has an incredibly high rate of fatal plane accidents, but don’t remember the source.
    Venezuelans take security in every aspect as a joke. Just another example: roads have always been killing fields, now more than ever.

    As you say, the airline business is a particularly hard one, where technology and financial management have to be top priority.

  9. Roy Says:


    Chavez also has no training or experience to be President. But, there he is. And everyone will pay the price for that.

  10. Dillis Says:

    It doesn’t help that their current, or it may be former President is also head of INAC who issue the air worthiness certificates in Venezuela. Apparently there is not much chance of Conviasa resuming flights until at least January!

  11. juancho Says:

    Chavez honestly believes there is such a thing as an actual job or position requiring experience and training. Ergo, El Presidente appoints loyal but totally inexperienced cronies to run information, commercial, banking, energy, and aviation sectors, to mention a few. Most of the other outfits can fail entirely and it will only inconvenience or bankrupt us. A plane goes down, however, and people die.

    Chavez recently was threatening to run his qualifications no importa philosophy as far as the medical profession, whereby folks could do half or less of the course work required, worldwide, to be an MD, and still be minted an a genuine medico. Here is unadulterated stupidity, bordering on insanity.

    Most of the problem comes not only from “the Venezuelan Government entering a business which requires levels of efficiency never seen in Ven. Government,” but moreover from a total disregard for even the most basic maintenance, re Guri, the power grid, et al. The airline workers themselves are the ones who shut the airlines down, fearing for their own lives. What’s astonishing is that we don’t see more of this. But Socialism is a progressive disorder, so sadly, things can only get worse.


  12. GB Says:

    Miguel: When our office assistant told me there was a plane crash in Puerto Ordaz, I didn’t even have to ask which airlines it was. I knew. It was no surprise. Tragic that people died because of this neglect.

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