This is a follow up on my last post, the issue of energy in Venezuela is a real crisis . There is no doubts about that, even the government is now admitting that the country is in an energy crisis. But there is something in my mind that is bugging me. Is the government really concern about the energy crisis or is the government concern with the people disapproval due to the lack of electricity and water?
Everybody knows that next year legislative candidates are up for election. Chavez control the majority of the National Assembly and he is not ready to give that up too easily. It is clear that Chavez knows that the people will turn on him if their basic necessities are not met, his whole game play about providing social services for all Venezuelans is coming down now. But this is something he should think of that 10 years ago when he came to power, in his last decade he has concentrated on putting on a show for the whole world to know him as the great Venezuelan leader. While at home, the country was dependent on its oil revenue to finance his social reform.
In the latest polls, Chavez popularity is down, only 17.2 percent say they would vote for re-election if they had to decide right now. The interesting thing about this poll by Datanalisis is that most of the people surveyed are supporters of Chavez. Soon after Chavez re-election, Venezuela saw a rapid growth due to the high prices of oil,; but after the global crisis affecting the world, Venezuela is now in a firm recession. Venezuelans are taking to the streets by the hundreds to protest the recent shortages of electrical power and water. This recent discomfort among the population is what is hurting Chavez in the polls, but even then they try to downplay the issue.
`I don’t have much time for opinion polls,” said pro-Chávez legislator Luis Tascón. But he admits that the president’s political movement, “has, in effect, suffered a decline” since its high-water mark in 2006 when Chávez was reelected.
“It’s a worrying picture for chavismo,” Tascón told The Miami Herald, “but it’s not fatal.” [Taken from the Miami Herald]
But who is going to pay for all this, the people always pay. Chavez is now asking people to take shorter showers, use less electricity and even asking people to buy their own generators. After the government took control of the electrical company from the private sector in 2000, the government has done little to maintain and improve service. According to Victor Poleo deputy minister for electricity during Chavez first term, in an interview to the Miami Herald said:
“My guess is that of every $100 pumped into [electricity] generation and transmission since 2003, $75 has been stolen by the politicians,”
I hate to used the old clique of “I told you so” but it is almost impossible not to used it. First it was the oil industry, later the electrical power, and now the government is expropriating hotels, malls, and whatever they can think of that might generate some source of revenue. Where is all this expropriation leading to, nowhere. The people of Venezuela are now left in the dark. This past Thursday about 100 demonstrators urged the president to find a solution to the problem.
“We’re accused of wasting electricity, but the fact is the government didn’t plan, didn’t invest and didn’t carry out maintenance,” Aixa Lopez, president of the Committee of Blackout Victims, told the TV news channel Globovisión.
- Image: Juan Karita / AP
- News Clip: www.miamiherald.com