UPDATE: This morning the government claimed it was all under control courtesy of the wonderful equipment, organization, people, etc, etc... tonight the mountain is still burning. They do not even have the decency to shut up for a few hours....
I cannot describe my mood tonight as I learn that my beloved mountain, Caracas Avila National Park is going up in flames. Not only that, but the part actually burning in part, so far, is one that had not burnt in a century or more, carrying vestiges of the rain forest before the Spaniards moved in, not that Native Americans did not burn woodland on their own.
Oh, but Chavez is great at changing the names of National Parks! The Avila now supposedly wears the Native name of Guaraira Repano which no one for sure knows exactly what it means or what Natives used it and for what. But someone within chavismo decided that the words described the park or the mountain or something and that was all what it took. Just as the hour was arbitrarily advanced by thirty minutes while the government stubbornly refuses to consider retrograding 30 minutes which could save quite a lot of the electricity that the Guri is producing.
But ask how many Forest rangers exist in Venezuela? (1) What are their working conditions? Are they well paid? Is there a stern park policy considering how dry the weather has been? How come people were allowed in considering the risk? Because make no mistake, that fire was set on purpose, be it from some witchcraft voodoo practitioners who love to do rituals in the park to some disgruntled opposition nut case trying to make Chavez look bad, as if he needed that extra blame.
El Universal coincidentally carries today an article on the National Guard Helicopter unit that tries desperately to throw water on burning forests, help fireman and rescue them when necessary. It is not an easy job and although the officer interviewed does not say it, you sense that the unit is not large enough, not supplied enough but that it does its best, this cannot be denied. You read that article and you have a sense of foreboding, that those people cannot cope with the magnitude of the disaster that the country is becoming this year. And sure enough, a few hours after I read the article confirmation came.
And what was Chavez doing this afternoon as someone was setting the park aflame? He was like Nero, holding his stupid and silly Alo Presidente in a 'bolivarian' computer center of La Vega where standing up he held hostage for hours a whole bunch of chavistas sitting down at each computer dutifully open at some official governmental page. As Nero he rhapsodized over how Henri Falcon betrayed him, as to whom would rescue the PPT from its sure demise, stating shamelessly that the high crime in Venezuela was due to a Colombian policy, and other idiocies of a desperate man who cannot find enough scape goats to account for the destruction he brought himself upon us.
When I think at all the money this narcissistic idiot has wasted outside of Venezuela, amen of all the corruption money lost inside, and I think at all that could have done to protect such a vulnerable park for a tiny fraction of the wasted money, I just want to cry.
But we are a miserable country where we only think about today, about what we can get from free from the state, where we are easily amused by Chavez antics and actually like the guy for his screwing up things and insulting people instead of fixing up what he was elected to do for in 1998. After eleven years of messing up the country there are still scores of people who do not see him for the egotistical buffoon he is or who do not care about the shape the country is as long as they get their week end beer and some action.
And so goes up in flame my Avila, the most visible mark of yet another lost decade, realizing that I am already too old to see it reborn, if Chavez ever even considers spending money in its reforestation when he could instead buy votes with free bags of food or reforest Cuba if Raul were to ask him for it.
The picture above is from Jose Ceballos as borrowed from El Universal.
1) this week end I read that we are woefully deficient in the numbers of policemen that cities like Caracas should have. Another reason why crime is so high. If Chavez does not care about protecting the life of people, do you think he is going to care at having the staff to protect National Parks?
PS: I probably will be too depressed to blog for a few days, I am even considering not going to Caracas for a while as the burnt area is in direct view of my home there. But you have three posts to comment on for only this Sunday. Cheer me up, will you, if possible.