It's Not Working!
We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…We recently had a piece on rising utility bills in Venezuela where those who could afford it said they would be OK with higher electric bills if the electricity worked. Well, it seems it’s not working!
Reuters reports that daily power cuts have returned, not only to Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second largest city, but to Caracas as well, which is usually shielded from power cuts.
Poorly maintained thermal plants are failing to compensate for weak hydro-electric generation (most of Venezuela’s power generation is hydro-electric) according to engineers and analysts.
The cuts are lasting at least four hours a day and at this time of year in Maracaibo the daily average high temperature is 104 degrees. In Zulia state, where Maracaibo is located, hospitals have been told to begin operating their own power plants because the regional government cannot secure a stable power supply.
Venezuela’s main power supply, the Guri Dam, responsible for 80% of the country’s power generation, has never recovered completely from the massive power failure in 2019 that put most of the country in the dark for over a week and even some of the recently installed power plants are out of service due to insufficient diesel, delayed maintenance, and lack of replacement parts.
Thermal plants will continue to struggle to supply power because the system needs some $15 billion in investment to overcome core problems, according to Juan Carlos Rodriguez from consultancy JCR Ingenieros. It’s worth noting that part of the proposed, and soon to be operational, UN-managed $3.2 billion humanitarian fund, is ear-marked for the power grid. Uhh.. part of $3.2 billion is a long way from $15 billion.
We said at the time of the massive blackouts in 2019 that the problem wouldn’t be fixed any time soon. Well, here we are in 2023 and it’s the same old story…the problem won’t be fixed any time soon.
Then we have Semafor telling us that US presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was a senior advisor helping advise on investments for a business that is part of the sprawling corruption investigation into PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company).
Kennedy was associated with Highmore Group who advised on investments for Barbados-based Energy Risk Indemnity, which is at the heart of the probe (purge?) at PDVSA. A spokesperson for the Kennedy campaign said “This is outside the scope of this campaign so we have no comment”. Well, what did you expect?
Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 15 continued…
…The founding fathers were great men, great thinkers, forward thinkers. The American experiment is the greatest success in the history of government. The men who drafted it’s foundational documents seemed to have an understanding of a basic truth, no one knows what the future will bring, and governments seem to transform themselves to the lowest common denominator. When Ben Franklin responded to the question about what kind of government they had set up for us his response was perfect. “A constitutional republic…if you can keep it.” The way they set things up all seem to serve the same purpose…to protect the government (us) from itself (ourselves).
They were very fearful of the power of government having just sacrificed so much to win their freedom. It was this fear that caused them to implement all the checks and balances contained in our system and still they knew we had the potential to screw it up. There was one thing that could help defend the people from the unforeseen consequences of actions taken by unknown future leaders, an armed populace. They weren’t worried about someone coming and robbing us in our homes. They were worried about the government coming and taking our homes away from us! I always fall back on one of my favorite quotes of all time regarding government and it’s not from the founding fathers but it shows a healthy distrust of centralized government when it becomes too strong. “A government big enough and powerful enough to give you everything you want is big enough and powerful enough to take everything you have.”
One common thread throughout history is there have always been people that manage to get into power that believe two things, the ends justify the means and might makes right. It’s not theory but fact. It’s all around us today. Chairman Mao said it and it’s oh so true…”Government power comes from the barrel of a gun.” When you refuse to do what the government tells you to do, regardless of your legal rights, they will send people with guns. What keeps people with guns from doing as they please to whomever they please? Other people with guns (and remember, I’m not a gun owner).
In 2012 Hugo Chavez disarmed the Venezuelan people. At the time, a lot of the people I spoke to were OK with the idea. I knew a number of Europeans in Venezuela and almost all of them were in favor of it at the time. They don’t think that now. When it’s suggested “That could never happen here” or “We wouldn’t do that”, be afraid…be very afraid. I have to believe that when an FAES death squad goes into the barrio to make an example out of someone that disagrees with the government they might think twice if they knew the people in the neighborhood were armed. Call it common sense, self-preservation, or whatever but would you and a few other people with guns go somewhere intent on using them if you knew there were a hundred people there with guns that would shoot back? Probably not.
This discussion could go on and on, as it has in the US for decades. People on both sides have reports and studies supporting their positions. I believe it’s a good thing for any populace to have the right to bear arms as a check against uncontrolled government oppression. While I believe my theories and rationality supporting my position are correct I can’t say I’m sure my stance is the correct one. There is one thing I can say with absolute certainty. I have spoken with many people in Venezuela and every single one believes that if the Venezuelans had the right to keep and bear arms Maduro and his thugs would have been gone a long time ago and the Venezuelan people would be rebuilding their country, not fleeing it.
That will do it for this week’s short segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole. We’ll be back tomorrow with more current news….
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