Archive for June 13th, 2011

Electric Crisis And The Chavez Government: From “Who Me?” To “It’s All Your Fault”

June 13, 2011

Maracaibo En La Noche last weekend and it has nothing to do with the song

The Venezuelan Government continued its attitude of not accepting responsibility for any of the problems of the country, but this time it went from the “Who me?” attitude of most problems to simply saying “It’s your fault!”, blaming the electric crisis on excess consumption and not on the inability and incapacity of the Chavez administration to tackle the problems.

The electric problem is not new. Last year the Government blamed El Niño for the crisis, but it quickly became clear that there was more to it, as it became evident that between the lack of maintenance, improvisation and bad decisions, what was a well run electrical network when Chavez took over as President, was run into the ground by the ignorant revoution. Despite this, the Government declared victory many times over the electrical crisis and blamed problems on sabotage and the weather. I still keep my time daily on announcements from Government officials and the flip-flopping continues. Clueless is the best way to describe them.

Then, after this weekend’s Zulia and neighboring states blackout, it was time to shift the blame and put it on “the people”

How irresponsible can you get?

The reality is different. The Chavez administration put a bunch of incompetent loyal military in front of the electric companies, slowly removing those that knew how to run the system and decide what to invest in and how to do it. Investment and maintenance was postponed, including that of the Guri dam that provides 70% of the electricity in the country.

But the crisis goes back to Minister Giordani deciding in 1999 to cancel five hydroelectric projects, a perfectly valid decision, but one that was not followed up by creating an alternate plan. This was followed by requesting the help from Cuban “experts” who went to a distributed system, like that of Cuba, from the interconnected one that Venezuela had (has?). They built power plants but forgot the transmission lines. Back to the 1930’s you all!

And while the Government blames consumption, which has definitely gone up, it is its actions that have created the current situation. Zulia’s consumption was not particularly high when the blackout took place last week. The five transformers that exploded did not explode because of demand. They exploded at night, when offices are closed, AC’s are off in these buildings and also many stores, it was not “peak” demand. Not even close to it.

But what can you expect from a Government that builds power plants that produces more electricity than nearby consumption but fails to build the required power lines to take power elsewhere? Or how about buying power plants for Sidor last year at the heart of Venezuela’s power consumption,  but failing to build power lines to take all of Guri’s power elsewhere?

So now the show is to make the people believe that it is not the Government’s fault. Blame the “companies” or the “big consumers”. Impose a penalty on anyone that does not reduce consumption by 10% and give discounts to those that do by more than 20%.

Funny, these are capitalistic solutions from a Government that froze rates 10 years ago, encouraging consumption and wants to give away a few million appliances to the “people” that it imported from China. As far as I know they don’t run on solar energy. Yes, making a consumer out of the last Venezuelan is a very desirable goal. But if you do it, you are going to have to generate all of the power required for them.And you better start charging for it.

But none of these connections exist in the Chavista mind. It is the giveaway that matters. The paternalistic, let’s give something for free to the masses so they vote for Hugo, the country be damned.

Let’s also screw the big corporation on the way, let’s force them to buy Diesel plants, which use … Diesel, that way we not only give gasoline away for free, but increase cheap Diesel use, so as to reduce exports at the same time. It’s called criollo Hara Kiri: Include PDVSA in the companies to be screwed. Tell it to buy all the power plants ready to be sold in the Western or Eastern world, overpay, but don’t solve the problem. Imagine the commissions in the middle!

I mean. Can these guys be this ignorant?

Seriously Ali (on the left, above), did you learn nothing in the guerrillas, Congress, Ministry of Foreign Relations, PDVSA, Ministry of Finance and now of Electricity?

Guess not, you also go to Cuba to get your medical treatment.

While The Government Thinks Big on Housing, It Leaves People Behind

June 13, 2011

While the Government wants to make a big electoral fuss about housing, the truth is that it can’t deal with even smaller problems, failing to solve the emergency of refugees fro last December’s floods, while spending all of the resources in a program that wil not yield results for years.

Basically, Ministers scramble to please the Venezuelan President, leaving behind and even ignoring the poor souls that lost their homes last December. Even worse, they occupy properties “temporarily” and these installations are shut down or deteriorate as the problem is not solved.

Case in point is fifty year old “Hipodromo La Rinconada”, as reported by El Nacional a while back, the Caracas horse racetrack that Chavez ordered shut down six or seven years ago. The once beautiful race track:

was turned into temporary housing for some 2,300 families, as you can see in the picture below:

The “homes” of the refugees are divisions made of cardboard along the hallways of the racetrack, except that the Government never even finished that part, thus residents use black garbage bags to complete the “walls” of their residences inside the race track. The residents were promised drywall, but other priorities took Government officials elsewhere.

The temporary housing violates all rules about refugees, from the type of walls and roofs, to the type of facilities, to sanitary conditions. There are flies, garbage and improvised wiring joins the units. Residents use the top of the bunk beds to store stuff. Meanwhile, the once spectacular bleachers of the racetrack are used by the people to dry their clothes, sheets and bedspreads:

while horses still tran down at the track.

It’s bizarro Venezuela at its best.