Another Day, Another Almost Tragic “Normal” Accident in Revolutionary Venezuela

October 7, 2011

It has been a month of accidents in Venezuela. Airplanes, trains, buses, accidents are now considered normal, nobody is responsible. In a country with four trains, three of them were involved in a recent accident leaving one person dead and 35 injured and the response of the Government was as if it was nobody’s fault, because “some cables had been stolen”

Then yesterday, we had another”normal” accident, this time in the Maracaibo subway system, a fairly new system, which has yet to be completed.  Basically, the brakes failed and the train continued beyond the barrier that is supposed to stop it and ended up a bare three meters away from falling down the end of the cement structure that supports the tracks, as you can see in the picture above.

The explanation?

It was all the rain’s fault! You see it rained, the train slipped because it had inertia. This seems to be “normal”. This is simply absurd, no rail system skips and slips because of the rain. If you put a barrier up to block a runaway train, it should stop a runaway train.  That is what engineers are supposed to design and prevent. But things not working in Venezuela are simply “normal” under the stupid revolution.

Of course, former Governor of Zulia Francisco Arias Cardenas, without having a clue, suggested sabotage by the opposition, another favorite explanation by this irresponsible revolution. They could not blame the IVth. Republic the subway system did not exist then…

83 Responses to “Another Day, Another Almost Tragic “Normal” Accident in Revolutionary Venezuela”

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  20. firepigette Says:

    must correct one mistake here:

    I did not ask you to get in touch with me…you sent me your email address….and whatever I said to you, I have also said to Quico once or twice in public….no rumors, just my opinion.

    The rest are just your speculations which hold no interest for me.

  21. Syd Says:

    I can count the number of barrios I’ve been through, in Caracas and outside city limits, on one hand, and for brief times. Unfortunately, I was raised as a Venezuelan female in a household bordering on the sifrino spectrum, within a large and varied extended family. So my liberties were limited. I made up for lost time, in my twenties, in ‘el exterior’, including your country, where I travelled thoroughly through 36 out of the 48 contiguous states. (Sales trip.) That was no big deal to me, either, FP. In other words, we’ve all had different and enriching experiences in life, absolutely none worthier of bragging than others. Unless we need to call attention to ourselves. But I digress. My brother grew up in Caracas with fuller reins. He frequented at least two barrios, made friends with the boys with whom he enjoyed ‘tumbando mangos’, even from the trees that overhung our family property. He also would climb the mountainsides, where he’d collect sack-fulls of mangoes, then drag them down and sell them to my aunt for her ‘jalea’ making endeavours. I would have preferred joining him rather than practising the piano. But at ten, you don’t have much say in the matter.

    When you say, there’s nothing odd about having close family members (in the barrios) keeping you informed, I agree. My concern was more with what came across as exaggerations. (The 1,000 Venezuelan family members that you said you had, the loads of family that you have in the barrios, to which you proudly claim.) And I wanted to get a better handle on that. Especially coming from someone who engaged in the electronic equivalent of screaming (use of caps and symbols expressing anger, rage) to inform us of how boring was our discussion over Chavez’ health — notwithstanding the writer’s own toe-dipping into rumor-mongering. Especially coming from a writer who once asked me to get in touch, away from Quico’s blog, to discuss Quico. (In Venezuela, we call that chismoseando.) Especially coming from a writer who told me then that she takes as many psychology courses as she possibly can (begging the question: who is she trying to comprehend?) And especially comimg from someone who recently made public reference to ‘funny how so many doctors are psychopaths.’ At that point, I thought not only was the comment galling and without substantiation,it reflected very poorly on the unjudicious writer.

    But the point is not isolated incidents; we all have them. The point is the trend. And how I should interpret the comments made by this one writer through that filter. You’ve made your opinions known as to what you think of my comments. Now it’s my turn: I’m skeptical over FP truthiness. There may be others who feel the same way I do. But that’s their business.

    As for your earlier claims about propaganda, perhaps there’s a two-way misunderstanding here. I thought your claims were tied to the propaganda displayed in ErneX’s link to a photograph.

    As for the revenge issue, I’m trying to get a better handle through credible sources, on whether there’s ‘the fact that many Chavistas feel revenge in the sense of taking the power they feel they rightly deserve.’ Undoubtedly a revenge-mode exists in any population, more so when the nation’s leader gives oxygen to that revenge, for so many years. But how widespread is it, 12/13 years on? I’d like to get to the bottom of that.

    The foreign-based chavistas (outside Venezuela) is a whole other topic with which I am much more familiar. Nada que ver is my (macro) perception of the differences between this subset and chavistas in Venezuela. The former mostly inhabit the ivory towers of academia for the unbridled and privileged environment it offers, especially to those who hang on, in need of an escape.

  22. CharlesC Says:

    “Kepler continually mentions that nobody is willing to walk the hills or go to the small towns”
    Not defendign Kepler per se, but, some do, some don’t -some are afraid,
    I know some gringos who visit Venezuela regularly-often and go practically
    anywhere- (although some have very strong wife with them-ha)
    In fact, I worry about their safety -obviously more than they worry about
    their own..
    I personally will not travel alone many places …
    Personally I find Mr. Kepler very very educated-one of the most-educated
    people I have ever encountered(-I do not know him)occasionally something irks me-but that’s ok. My gosh, he brings incredible information-and opinions
    as does so many others here. I look at this blog as school, sort-of..
    (I am a certified “overeducated, underachiever”-which is nothing to brag

    • Syd Says:

      “some do, some don’t -some are afraid,”

      I agree with you, CharlesC. I’ve known a few Venezuelans who’ve made inroads into all kinds of what most of us would call troublesome terrain (Aids wards, a long time before the disease became better known, barrios, etc.). One older woman I used to know, though not well beyond her humble demeanor, was associated with a religious group. She would enter the barrios with this ‘shield’ to teach catechism. I diidn’t ask her, before her death, whether she entered the barrios alone, and what the crime index was of those barrios. (After all, there are degrees and situations that should be quantified, where claims are discussed.)

      As for Kep, yes, he has, at times, irritated. (Though he has been getting better — I think his medication was changed 😉 But I’d rather be irritated by him than by an ignorant fool, or by one who enters these blogs under false pretenses.

  23. firepigette Says:


    Much of the knowledge I have from family in barrios comes from phone calls though you would be surprised how many do have computers and are quite literate on them. Many people in the barrios have fancier phones, tvs, and computers than middle class people have here in the US-Perhaps if you have no family or friends in the hills, you wouldn’t know that…..And of course people keep me informed Syd, there is nothing odd about that among close family members.Some of them are so extremely Chavista that they don’t trust me, but many are simply Chavista lite….and they ALL know I hate Chavez.Also one of of my family members here in NC goes back and forth to Caracas all the time, bringing back the latest on what is going on among Chavistas.

    One of the things I have found EXTREMELY strange on these blogs is that Kepler continually mentions that nobody is willing to walk the hills or go to the small towns….it is unbelievable to me, because even as a young gringa women I walked the streets of Los Frailes de Catia, met with barrio leaders in Valencia,and worked in the modulo of the worst barrio of San Juan de los Morros.It is no big deal to me and I am from an upper middle class family….but apparently for folks on these blogs this is rare among the oppos 🙂 yeah sure….. So we all have things we find strange Syd.

    I don’t know what you are referring to when you talk about propaganda….I was simply referring to the fact that many Chavistas feel revenge in the sense of taking the power they feel they rightly deserve.There is a negative and highly emotional base behind their anti US sentiments as well as class hatreds within Venezuela itself.Power is revenge in this sense.Often this is unconscious which creates a kind of blindness.

    As for the repartee you talk about…yes it often bores me…but so what? That’s just an honest opinion. I usually don’t mention it unless I feel that something negative results from it like I did the other day with what seemed like obsessing over Chavez’s illness….

  24. Syd Says:

    Thank you, FP. Most of us commenters on these blogs have disclosed, at various intervals, a few things about our personal life, without getting too personal, and with a Venezuelan connection. It’s what gives each a more realistic dimension, and ties us to the conversation at hand. Sometimes, when claims are made, one or another commenter will ask for more disclosure. It certainly should not cause barriers to go up. Although PSF’s (pendejos sin fronteras) have certainly erected some formidable palisades. For good reason; they have a lot to hide.

    As for a tit-for-tat blog, as you call this one, I don’t consider Miguel’s, or Daniel’s, or Quico’s falling into your classification. Most of us commenters get into some lively repartees. And that’s what makes the dynamics interesting. You’ve let us know on multiple occasions that you have trouble with some of those dynamics.

    As for your 1,000 members of your family in Venezuela, that claim of yours, a few months ago, was unmistakable — and memorable. In fact, I was astounded when I first read it, and promptly asked you for more particulars. It was just so, well, unreal. You chose not to reply. And so I wondered who this FP was. Wondered if she might be with some religious group, maybe US based, which might consider a large village as a family. It was that preposterous.

    As for your pulse on the opinions of ‘the loads of chavista family in the barrios’, which you claim to have, it’s admirable that these folks have computers, and that they keep in touch with you to let you know of their opinion. For I know Venezuelans, even well educated ones, have never been that keen on traditional letter writing. So I wondered a little about that, how computer literate are the people in these barrios.

    As for revenge motivation, I saw a small slice of that, back in 2001. But I also saw earnest believers in Chavez’ miracle, sincere people, salt of the earth, with no revenge motive. Clearly my view of the chavista spectrum was not broad at the time; it’s non-existent now, given that I’m only in touch with family and friends who are not chavistas. I do have a Venezuelan-born friend in Spain who is in touch with many chavistas, though she is not one. I’ve never heard her mention a widespread revenge motive. But I’ll ask her.

    One last thing, you say that the photo Ernex provided of the ‘under construction’ road sign, in Caracas, is propaganda that’s used most everywhere. I’ve never encountered this in all my years in the US and Canada, whereby a national political leader appropriates urban works, and chooses to advertise at the micro level.

  25. firepigette Says:


    On a strictly tit for tat blog, I see no obligation whatsoever to disclose my personal life , and I do not demand that of anyone else either.You don’t have to believe anything I say.What difference can it possibly make?None at all really.

    I don’t believe I said thousands of family members- I think I said thousands of family and friends, however if I did it was a mistake.

    I have thousands of friends and family members -yes- perhaps many of those friends could better be described as acquaintances), but I do have access at times to many of their current opinions.Obviously my ex husband was a public figure in Venezuela( which explains the quantity of people I had to endure), though his family was mostly poor and from the small towns and barrios.This very criollo family is still very much a part of my life and I love them as much as my own blood relatives here in the US.

    What does living in a college town have to do with anything??? My current husband is a college professor -a dual Venezuelan and British citizen.If you add his family and friends to my list as well, I can also cover the pulse of the irredeemably sifrino quite nicely too 🙂

    As for the rest of my story, it is not even remotely open to disclosure ,sorry.

  26. Syd Says:

    Since you evidently have an inside track to chavismo, FP, but don’t disclose any other information, a few questions arise.

    But first, a preamble. You once mentioned that you have 1,000 family members in Venezuela. Presumably, they all live in the barrios. That number is astonishing, even for 3 generations of a poligamist Mormon fundamentalist. So I would ask, are these blood relatives and their relations?

    Second, one wonders how an American woman, living in a (NC college?) town ended up having so many Venezuelan family members?

    It’s a matter of perspective. And yes, some curiosity. Would you be willing to inform us now? My previous effort to gain some information from you, on this issue, was futile.

  27. firepigette Says:

    Who of you have loads of Chavista family in the barrios like I do?

    If you do, you will know as I do that most of them believe that even though Venezuela is in bad shape right now, it is not nearly as bad off as the US.
    Chavez’s propaganda has worked !

    Under this paradigm, nothing can ever be that bad, because the evil Empire is Always Infinitely Worse.So in the end there are no mistakes that can compare, no shortcomings that make the grade.It is all part of the beautiful process of social justice : revenge 🙂

    By the way to a lesser extent this propaganda is used most everywhere as, it is so convenient and popular.

    • CharlesC Says:

      I have no relatives in Caracas- mainly go there for airport and port.(Vehicles)I do agree from what I have heard about barrios in large cities.
      I come from a very small “tribe”-ha. And, my wife too-rare names and trace back to Spain-my wife’s family all Venezuelan -with some indian blood,-
      me= just a drop of indian blood and half french and a real “heinz 57′
      total including cousins and children -less than 100. Tiny.
      Mostly having small number of children, or no children-sometimes one or two would have 4=5 , 6, 8, often just one or none. And, both of our families
      were almost wiped out once by fever and malaria,One of grandmothers family
      almost all died in a few weeks in early 1900s leaving 2 girls and father..
      My father’s grandfather’s brother -took an engineering job in Jamaica-building port- and 5 sons and wife died of malaria.
      Plus both of our families had mostly girls -and though nice, educated many teachers , accountants etc. -many never married and never had children
      and are still alive today.

      • firepigette Says:

        Yes Charles C,

        It is incredible to hear this….yet I hear it over and over again as it is so prevalent among Chavistas to believe that the US is much worse off….And what is even more bizarre is that many of them send their kids to study in the US, despite believing it is so much worse than here.

        In Charlotte NC, there is for all intents and purposes a Venezuelan Chavista club of permanent US residents who live here , yet claim this is the Evil Empire and that things are still better in Venezuela…..go figure !

        Political movements are all manifestations of insanity in my opinion….this one being quite a bit worse.

        • CharlesC Says:

          I am in Tampa and many chavistas and their children who get free money are here too. I saw many in NYC and know they have some in DC.
          It surprises me how many here and Miami are either a. don’t care or really
          support Chavez, b. there are a few I have met who are anti-Chavez-not as
          Chavez claims “armies training in US to overthrow me”.
          Lots of people took money out and some still get money from businesses etc. in Venezuela- but some (myself)have lost lot in Venzuela.

        • CharlesC Says:

          Yes -they hear about bad things in US before I do. A hurricane-for example- they thought I may have been blown away, phones were out -few years ago. My wife goes back and forth often, but I do not- because of businesses. Sometimes I get a few days off, but I prefer to go for at least
          3-4 weeks -if I go. My wife does this, too. Anyway, we have no children and
          few small relatives -but have to make rounds to visit several sweet, older
          ladies. ANd eveyone now is online,everyone has digital cameras, all the little accessories- thanks in large part to our purchases.(They are easy to carry in luggage.)

  28. ErneX Says:

    I don’t know why these things keep pissing me off:

  29. JMA Says:

    Chupense esta …

    VIVIENDAS | Calculan construir 153.000 unidades en 2011

    Se han construido 78% de las viviendas previstas para este año

    “Vamos muy bien, trabajamos de acuerdo a lo planificado”, sostuvo el ministro de Vivienda y Hábitat, Ricardo Molina.

    Is there an idiot (and God knows Venezuela has a healthy surplus) in the whole country that truly believes this???

  30. JMA Says:

    It would be interesting to know how many people traveling in that train will vote for Chavez in 2012. Then, we will have a true measure of how stupid Venezuelans can be.

  31. megaescualidus Says:

    Clearly Venezuela’s infrastructure, new and old, is falling apart. I’d like to think the end to this nightmarish situation Venezuelan’s are going thru is near its end, but at the same time, after 12 years of the most inefficient and corrupt government – without any doubt – alternability every 5 years seems really a thing of the past.

    • Syd Says:

      How about four? Haul their behinds if they don’t do a good job. The tricky thing is, if they do a good job, do we re-elect immediately following the completion of the term in office? Or do we go back to the previous parameter.

  32. Canadian Says:

    It must be the Oppo greased the track last night.

  33. Roger Says:

    Perhaps they should put Mimes on the tracks like this story about Mimes improving traffic in Caracas JAJA JAJA …..
    Island: sounds logical and from the pictures I have seen recently, Morena Flacas are becoming rare in Venezuela. Too many Arepas Bolivana at discount prices. I don’t even want to think what they would look like if they ever Super Size Arepas!

    • JMA Says:

      Mimes used for traffic control in Caracas because the police cannot do its job. Every day Bizarroland breaks its own record. Go figure.

      • Kepler Says:

        Come on! We use a mime to rule Venezuela because we thought the previous politicians were bad. And now look, look at what the Übermime is doing and now he doesn’t want to leave!

        • JMA Says:

          Listen friend, you can say anything about Hugo Chavez except that he is a mime. For goodness sake, the man hasn’t been able to shut up in 13 years!

        • CharlesC Says:

          That is correct “Ubermime” .Dictator mime.
          Chavez was borne to be a mime…
          How do you get a mime to leave?
          As with Chavez- if you could make him be real and
          tell the truth…
          We need mime control.. wash with mime away 3 times…

        • HalfEmpty Says:

          D00d what you got here is a meme, not a mime. 🙂

    • JMA Says:

      120 mimes! who, of course, don’t work for free. Wouldn’t be more efficient to use that money to actually pay POLICE OFFICERS to enforce the law, Ocariz? I can’t remember when was the last time I saw them at important traffic intersections in Caracas on a permanent basis. Is stupidity contagious, and now some in the oppo have got it?

      • CharlesC Says:

        U no it is! A good kick in the pants can sometimes cure it, too.

        • Carolina Says:

          A big fat traffic ticket would do to. An a suspension or confiscation of the car if the tickets are not paid.
          Again, it’s just the enforcement of the law, that’s it.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Many more males and females are overweight, I believe also.

  34. island canuck Says:

    Here’s another gem to consider:
    Ciclista Daniel Larreal denuncia exclusión por criticar reforma a la Ley del Deporte

    According to the comments in ND she is a Chavista but didn’t like the new Sport’s law & was excluded from the team even though she had the best chance to win.

  35. island canuck Says:

    According to news reports (which I now can’t find) the conductor was talking to a cute young lady during the minutes leading up to the accident.

    This is a common problem here in Venezuela where the local ladies are all about 10 on the sexy scale.

    Good reason to lose concentration. 🙂

    • CharlesC Says:

      Stop when you need glasses…
      As W.C.Fields said “It was a woman that drove me to drinking
      and I didn’t even have the courtesy to thank her.”

    • Steven Says:

      Several recent bus and train accidents in the USA have been linked to the driver sending and recieving text messages.

  36. Duncan Says:

    Light rain (not heavy rain) will cause substantial wheel slide on a train. Modern trains are fitted with wheel slide protection; however, the driver has to recognise rail head conditions and brake accordingly. I fear that this case was down to human error which results in trains slipping through stations worldwide – and for that resaon, it is madness to have a terminus station proceeded by unfinished track. to get a more technical maracucho point of view have a look at

  37. Roger Says:

    They can blame it on the opposition. Think POLAR

  38. metodex Says:

    On today’s Panorama newspaper:

    “Comienza investigacion penal por descarrilamiento del metro”

    Just like Pudreval, some anonymous guy will go to jail and thats it, THE GRAND BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC DEALT WITH THE INFILTRATORS AND AGITATORS.

    because of course,its always someone else’s fault you know.

  39. Ira Says:

    Holy crap!

    This goes beyond incompetence, and into the realm of the absurd.

    • Ira Says:

      Actually, it may very well be the train engineer’s fault.

      But objective, fact-finding studies of this kind of stuff is a thing of the past in VZ:

      It’s all about the politics.

  40. sapitosetty Says:

    This same Maracaibo metro?

    Source: SEC Complaint, p. 14
    Metro contracts (2001-2007)
    Valencia and Maracaibo metro systems
    Contract Amounts: $642 million
    Bribe Amount: $16.7 million

    A high-ranking member of the central Venezuela government
    Two prominent Venezuelan attorneys acting on behalf of government officials
    A former Venezuelan defense minister and diplomat


    Expect more of the same, as I’ve heard that some Iranian, Chinese and Belarussian companies now building homes in Venezuela are using their own engineers, rather than those with Venezuelan stamps. Sure, it would be illegal, whatchagunna do, sue the developer? I don’t have confirmation of this but it’s depressing if true.

    • geha714 Says:

      Yep, that one.

    • Carolina Says:

      The housing built by foreign professionals offends me immensely. I am an architect and I know first hand how good venezuelan engineers are. Despite that, the foreigners don’t know the building code and regulations, environmental conditions, soil conditions, material and labour. The structural code was modified after the 1967 earthquake to make our structures stronger and it MUST be followed.
      It’s offensive.

      • Carolina Says:

        I forgot to mention weather conditions, which are by far very different than those in those countries.
        This reminds me a story my dad used to tell us: during Perez Jimenez dictatorship, they hired canadian engineers to build the Autopista Regional del Centro. What we got is a highway…with a swale in between lanes to DUMP IN THE SNOW (not too sure if it’s true but when you see it and compare to what I have here, it might be true).

        • Syd Says:

          I heard the same story from a venezolano living in Canada, about the Cdn/US? engineers who built the swale. But I can’t remember what Ccs highway he mentioned. Evidently, the story was circulated by those who don’t know that swales are created for a more efficient carriage/seepage/drainage of all water, not just snow.

          • HalfEmpty Says:

            No, the swale is needed for emergency B-52 dispersal. Srsly..

          • Carolina Says:

            It might be just an old wives tail, except my dad is also an architect at the time working in Venezuela, so I tend to believe it.
            The only way to confirm it would be to check the MOP (ministerio de obras publics) “memories” (which by the way, there are awesome books) and see who actually built it.
            Now, it is true that it’s the only highway that I remember done this way in venezuela, and it’s JUST like the highway from here to Banff, the hell of a coincidence!

      • Pedrop Says:

        I would go with the foreign Engineer. He or she may be corrupt however the Venezuelan Engineer will be corrupt.

        • Carolina Says:

          I’m going to have to stop you right there. There is corruption everywhere but you can’t blame a whole trade because of some.
          There are many excellent professionals in Venezuela and there are many ways to make tender processes transparent as well. It’s just a way of implement them properly.

        • JMA Says:

          That is just one big stupid remark. I know quite a number of Venezuelan engineers, including some in my family, and none have ever engaged in any corrupt practice.

          • CharlesC Says:

            Venezuela needs more engineers-and more projects by
            engineers- not idiotic chavistas on a whim who know nothing..

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