So, tonight, as most people in Venezuela watch either Miss Venezuela or Larry King interviewing the Dictator (or both by switching channels), I think about this uneventful day in Venezuela when:
1) The 12th victim of the Chlorine spill died today. So far, only the truck driver has been jailed and I suspect nobody else will ever be jailed for this. Neither the PDVSA people who allowed the truck to be driven unsafely through Venezuela, nor the ones that did not secure the cylinders, nor the traffic people that allow all drivers to go 30-40% above the speed limit, nr the local authorities that allowed the highway to have potholes and deteriorate, nor the Government officials that allowed the hospitals to deteriorate (We are all responsible said Hugo, he should be charged too!) to such an extent that the Clarines hospital did not have the supplies to take care of those affected by the accident.
Thus, the driver becomes the “Chino de Recadi” the only man jailed in a chain of irresponsible of events where the driver was probably the weakest link. To his credit, he even tried to drive the truck away from Clarines but the truck went into the drain.
2) Yesterday or the day before there was a shoot out in El Valle in South Western Caracas. A total of ten people were killed by the police (El Nacional page C-8). The mother of the person the police were looking for acknowledges that her son was not a saint, but she says at least five of those killed were innocent. Some in the barrio say the cops routinely go in the barrio and kill kids at will. Other say the cops stole stuff from their home.
What kind of country have we become when the police can kill ten people like that and there is no outcry?
3) The number of new malaria cases is already higher in 2009 than it was in 2008. There have been 22,183 cases so far in 2009. Ten years ago, there were 16,686. For the first time in twenty years, there have been malaria cases detected in urban areas. In 1999 there was a whole department in charge of containing malaria, that department was shut down in 2001, its programs dismantled. I really have no idea if they are back.
Malaria used to be a priority, dengue too, the number of deaths from dengue is up 31% year over year. And these are official numbers. The real numbers from swine flu are anybody’s guess, the country has one of the lowest incidences per inhabitant in Latin America, according to official figures.
4) The Venezuelan Federal Medical Association says that it is not 2,000 Barrio Adentro modules that are closed, but 4,800. So much for the showcase of the Chavez administration.
5) In the proposed weapons law, citizens may only buy up to 50 bullets a year. I guess they want the estimated 6 million weapons to be limited to killing the whole population of Venezuela.
6) According to ONG’s Provea and Espacio Publico, both with impeccable credentials, there have been 2,079 protests so far this year in Venezuela. Of these 130 have been repressed by the authorities. Those repressed yielded six people killed, 461 injured and 440 people jailed. 70% of the protests are labor related, but the pattern seems to be independent of the type of protest.
This is the Venezuela that according to Chavez will change the world. This is the socialism that will be expanded everywhere. This is the bizarre country that we are putting up with and living in.
So dance with Miss Venezuela and/or watch Hugo lie in CNN. We have got to escape somehow.