Country with largest oil reserves in the world can’t provide rudimentary service
December 3, 2013
It is said Benito Mussolini, Italy’s former socialist turned fascist, made the trains run on time. But his modern day counterpart, Nicholas Maduro, can’t keep the lights on in Venezuela.
The South American country was pitched into darkness for a second time this year as a power outage struck the oil-rich country. The electricity went out in Caracas and much of the rest of Venezuela around 8 p.m. local time.
Despite the fact Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, estimated at 297 billion barrels, and two hydroelectric facilities generate two-thirds of its power, its socialist government appears incapable of meeting the rudimentary needs of the Venezuelan people.
Some of the earlier blackouts were part of a rationing scheme by the government while others were due to utility failures. The outages have not affected the country’s oil production facilities. PDVSA, the state-owned company that runs Venezuela’s oil refineries, are powered by separate generators and did not report electrical failures on Monday night.
Maduro, a former bus driver handpicked by the late Hugo Chávez to be his successor, faced severe criticism from his political rivals after the outage.
Maduro and his political allies suspect sabotage. The outage occurred while he was live on television delivering a national address. He soon took to Twitter and announced he would continue running the government despite the “strange” blackout.
He returned to the airwaves around 11 p.m. “Be strong against this electrical war that yesterday’s fascists have declared against our people,” he said. Maduro then put the nation’s security service on emergency alert.
Venezuela’s socialist government formed a special security unit to guard electrical facilities following a September blackout.
Maduro used earlier outages as political fodder to attack his enemies. He accused the opposition of sabotaging electrical transmission lines, but did not provide any evidence to back his accusation.
He instructed the military “to protect the entire country.”