The first post was on the leaders to come after Chavez.
The second one on PDVSA blast yesterday, with a title which idea I shamefully picked up from the web "Gotterdamerung". It was from someone that wished to remain nameless so if by any chance you read it, write to me so I can thank you personally for such a great idea. The post is reproduced after the jump.
August 26, 2012 –
It is difficult to put a just perspective on what happened yesterday in the huge refinery complex of Amuay-Cardon. The Venezuelan state oil company and monopoly, PDVSA, had two gas reservoirs blowing up and killing scores of people (tonight’s count is 39 death and 86 injuries). The state has tried to control the flow of information, reportedly with threats to the media. It is election times and that major disaster is a direct hit to Hugo Chavez.
But in an age of Twitter and smart phones, the information cannot be silenced the way it can still be done in worker’s paradises like Cuba or North Korea. Pictures and videos were quickly available, comments and injury reports, and even expressions using the word Gotterdammerung which found its way to the title above.
Tonight the Vice president of Venezuela Elias Jaua did a shameful update on TV trying to transform the tragedy into a campaign asset, implying to us that were it not for el Comandante personal involvement it would be all for the worse. Orwell should be so creative.
The country knows better.
After the oil strike of 2002-2003, what turned into a regime the government of Hugo Chavez was the firing without any regards and compensation of 20,000+ workers of PDVSA. Then excuses from “bloated bureaucracy” to “traitors” were readily used. The rage of the regime against this proficient team, the source of Venezuela’s income, made us witness dramatic scenes such as spouses and children being expelled at night from workers camps at Los Semerucos. Needless to say that the pension savings and legal payment benefits of these workers became arguably the first illegal expropriation of the regime.
Since then, not only the company payroll has ballooned to at least four times the 2002 payroll, but PDVSA became one of the most opaque, unsafe oil companies to work for. Gente de Petroleo, an NGO formed in 2003 to defend the rights of the fired workers, in a communiqué today report that since 2003 there have been at least 79 accidents in Amuay, with 19 workers killed that we know of.
But that is not all: since 2003 PDVSA has been associated with a number of major national disasters in a way that did not happen before 2003. In pollution accidents we go from the chronic contamination of Lake Maracaibo to the recent one in Monagas that left the major city of Maturin without running water for more than a month. Not to mention the stacks of oil derived coke near Piritu that PDVSA cannot be bothered to dispose of and make the area’s air un-breathable.
There are also many accidents such as gasoline trucks on the roads without the adequate security measures that have killed bystanders in fiery explosions. Even without fire PDVSA causes major perturbation in the country, such as the Cupira Bridge that links the Eastern part of the country to the rest and that was destroyed last week because a PDVSA crane twice the weight allowance of the bridge tried to cross it anyway. Weeks of costly chaos will follow.
Since Chavez put in charge at PDVSA his henchman Rafael Ramirez it has become a true state within the state, an entity that cannot be questioned and even less audited. Any criticism is considered state treason by chavismo. And indeed it has to be treated as such by the regime because all of PDVSA faults, and its reckless wreckage, have to be laid at the feet of Chavez, barely a month before his hoped for reelection.