Archive for December 3rd, 2010

Venezuelan rainy musings

December 3, 2010

With the tragedy of the rains flooding Venezuela, it would be improper to suggest responsibility for the many horrific scenes we are witnessing today. Natural phenomena can’t be predicted, you just need to have the best contingency plan possible just in case.

But the citizens of Vargas State can definetely complain. Eleven years ago they lived through exactly the same thing and nothing much has changed in that state. Remarkably Vargas is a very pro-Chavez state, although by now Chavez’ lead in that state has been cut significantly, with PSUV losing 16% of the vote in the recent elections.

Vargas could have been a showcase for the revolution if Chavez had wanted it to be after the tragic floods of 2000. It was just a matter of deciding it.

Let’s suppose the subsidy for gasoline had been cut in half given the national emergency in 2000. That means that PDVSA would have received some US$ 55 billlion in additional revenue. Assume also, that you let PDVSA keep half of that for its projects. You are left with US$27.5 billion. Further assume that you gave each state its fair share, Vargas would have received around one billion US dollars. Assume further that you would have used this money to build safe housing on safe ground. If each house cost US$ 25,000, you could have built 40,000 housing units during this time.

Well, estimates are that Vargas has around 300,000 inhabitants. At an average of four people per home, you could have relocated half the population of that state.

Of course, the numbers are more complicated than that, you also need infrastructure to protect the housing from flooding, roads and the like, but when you consider how much has been spent in foreign aid to Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and the like, how much has been spent on weapons and how much has been wasted on graft, there should have been plenty of money for this.

Sadly, Corpovargas never really got off the ground, experts were never called in and Chief Economist Hugo has been more interested in rifles and his glory than anything else.

Yes, something could have been done, but nothing is being done even today…