Hugo’s power grab results in power outages

posted at 8:08 am on October 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Few consequences in politics provide as much irony as the rolling blackouts in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil industry.  Chavez insisted that he had to end capitalism and install socialism in order to return Venezuela to the people.  They’d appreciate it more if they could have their lights on to see it:

Despite having some of the world’s largest energy reserves, Venezuela is increasingly struggling to maintain basic electrical service, a growing challenge for leftist President Hugo Chavez.

The OPEC nation has suffered three nationwide blackouts this year, and chronic power shortages have sparked protests from the western Andean highlands to San Felix, a city of mostly poor industrial workers in the sweltering south.

Shoddy electrical service is now one of Venezuelans’ top concerns, according to a recent poll, and may be a factor in elections next month for governors and mayors in which Chavez allies are expected to lose key posts, in part on complaints of poor services.

The problem suggests that Chavez, with his ambitious international alliances and promises to end capitalism, risks alienating supporters by failing to focus on basic issues like electricity, trash collection and law enforcement.

Venezuela is a net energy exporter — or at least it was before Chavez nationalized its oil and electrical production and spent most of his attention on FARC and opposing the US on the international stage.  The electrical grid has fallen into disrepair and Chavez’ oil-burning electrical plants don’t generate enough to keep it stable.  Venezuelans now have to contend with third-world electrical production as well as Chavez’ aspirations to be a cut-rate Fidel Castro.

In fact, Chavez has taken a page from Castro in response to the electrical crisis.  Instead of spending the billions of dollars necessary to upgrade the grid and generate enough electricity for the entire nation, Chavez has built tiny microstations to provide service to small sectors of homes and businesses.  Castro did the same thing in Cuba, and Hugo has proved just as effective.  They generate too little electricity for too many consumers, which means they only ease the severity of the shortfall without doing anything to solve the underlying problem.

Chavez has something Castro does not — a fortune in oil revenues.  What happened to all the money?  Where has he put Venezuela’s money?  It certainly hasn’t gone to infrastructure.  It’s likely to be going straight into Chavez’ pocket, or perhaps to his friends in FARC, or to curry favor with Iran and Russia.

So far, Chavez seems intent on proving the failure of socialism.  He’s well on his way, but since the 20th century had been devoted to that particular lesson, it seems that the lights aren’t on in more than one sense in Venezuela regardless.


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Is that a parrot on his shoulder? LOL. All he needs is the black eye patch and his Halloween costume is complete.

Yaaaaar, matey, I be Hugo the Yugo, pirate o’ the Caribbean.

ManlyRash on October 23, 2008 at 8:13 AM

“blackout” is obviously a code word for a racist attack against Barack Obama, so this story cannot possibly be true.

GoHskrs on October 23, 2008 at 8:14 AM

I’ve read that Venezuela’s oil output has been falling in recent months.

Add to this, the collapse in oil prices this year.

Venezuela is going to be in a world of hurt economically, and they have no one to blame but Chavez.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2008 at 8:14 AM

Will this mean Team BO will no longer be bragging about having Hugo as a financial advisor to the campaign?

David in ATL on October 23, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Venezuela is going to be in a world of hurt economically, and they have no one to blame but Chavez Chimpy McBushitler.

Fixed it for any moonbats who might be reading this.

ManlyRash on October 23, 2008 at 8:16 AM

I don’t see the problem here. Gosh, this should be easy to fix for a socialist. Just shoot everyone running the electrical companies and start over.

JellyToast on October 23, 2008 at 8:17 AM

The future with Barack Obama…rolling blackouts for everyone! Get those home generators if you haven’t already gotten them and get that fuel for them before the prices shoot up again…

Matt Helm on October 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

coming soon to an America Near You.

LegendHasIt on October 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

Al Gore and friends are smiling. Hugo is reducing their carbon footprint.

meci on October 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Hey Hugo, can I have my omelet with mushrooms and ham?

“Sure Senor NoDonkey, but remember, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”

Seriously, the guy looks like the guy at the egg station on a buffet line in this photo. Hard to take him seriously.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

The future with Barack Obama…rolling blackouts for everyone! Get those home generators if you haven’t already gotten them and get that fuel for them before the prices shoot up again…

Matt Helm on October 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

Some areas barely escaped blackouts this year. And still the environmentalists refuse to allow any new power plants to be built.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2008 at 8:20 AM

They obviously need new leadership: Venezuela First!

T J Green on October 23, 2008 at 8:23 AM

coming soon to an America Near You.

LegendHasIt on October 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

…Hugo Chavez smiling face blasts out,

“Live from New York…It’s Saturday Night!”

[Wild Applause] [Cue Saxophone]

Saltysam on October 23, 2008 at 8:28 AM

In fact, Chavez has taken a page from Castro in response to the electrical crisis. Instead of spending the billions of dollars necessary to upgrade the grid and generate enough electricity for the entire nation, Chavez has built tiny microstations to provide service to small sectors of homes and businesses. Castro did the same thing in Cuba, and Hugo has proved just as effective. They generate too little electricity for too many consumers, which means they only ease the severity of the shortfall without doing anything to solve the underlying problem.

One of the things missing there Ed, is that Chavez sent Cubans to houses in Venezuela to change light bulbs and smoke detectors. Why do you need people sent to your house, and Cubans, to do such a simple task in people’s homes?
This is what happens in socialism. Any way to investigate if there are any anti-Chavez, anti-leader in a country. Scary stuff. It happens in Cuba and now in Venezuela. Might happen here if we are not careful.

jencab on October 23, 2008 at 8:29 AM

Imagine Obama controlling our energy. He can order our electricity to shut off to support conservation. I believe he would take over our oil, Ngas and other energy options to control the US citizens.

We must defeat Obama.

mindhacker on October 23, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Hopefully these problems will awaken the lower class in Venezuela and show them that Hugo is no better than your typical power hungry Latin thug.

Viva la Revolucion!

Lance Murdock on October 23, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Al Gore and friends are smiling. Hugo is reducing their carbon footprint.

meci on October 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Ack. Not funny because it’s, well, true.

Gilda on October 23, 2008 at 8:38 AM

“Hugo’s power grab results in power outages.”

Barney Frank Heating Fund hit hardest.

“… and may be a factor in elections next month for governors and mayors in which Chavez allies are expected to lose key posts, in part on complaints of poor services.”

ACORN to the rescue!!!

“Where has he put Venezuela’s money?”

There can never be enough in your Swiss bank account.

Dusty on October 23, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Chavez insisted that he had to end capitalism and install socialism in order to return Venezuela to the people. They’d appreciate it more if they could have their lights on to see it

Socialists/communists have to keep the people in the dark. Otherwise they would see the problems inherent in such f’ed up systems.

BTW, wasn’t Bill Ayers recently down in Venezuela, palling around with Chavez?

rbj on October 23, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Seriously, the guy looks like the guy at the egg station on a buffet line in this photo. Hard to take him seriously.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

He specializes in parrot-egg omelets; delicious.

Frozen Tex on October 23, 2008 at 8:42 AM

Brack Obama: “I call it opportunity!”

Skywise on October 23, 2008 at 8:46 AM

Venezuela is going to be in a world of hurt economically, and they have no one to blame but Chavez.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2008 at 8:14 AM

I strongly disagree with your comment in the sense that they have ONLY THEMSELVES to blame: they elected Chavez.
The same reasoning applies to the the USA electing Obama!!!

Lucm on October 23, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Chavez’s only HOPE now is for CHANGE in the position of POTUS to that of a leftist, liberal, socialistic person who will help bail out his sinking boat. As far as Chavez is concerned he has a lot riding on November 4th’s vote. I’m pretty sure he isn’t touting McCain/Palin.

Yoop on October 23, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Maybe once Obama looses this election he might decide to go somewhere where his socialistic ways might be appreciated. I’m sure Hugo would welcome him with open arms.

Dreadnought223 on October 23, 2008 at 8:55 AM

Quick! Somebody send Bill Ayers the memo that Hugo-land is not the paradise that both are promoting.

This piece reminds me of the WSJ commentary earlier this week of how, if Obama becomes president, he will override Congress by using EPS bureaucracy to shut down coal-fired electrical plants in the name of reducing carbon output. The Midwest, home of Obama’s dreaded Red States, will be left in the dark.

onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 8:56 AM

Few consequences in politics provide as much irony as the rolling blackouts in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil industry. Chavez insisted that he had to end capitalism and install socialism in order to return Venezuela to the people.

Just wait until Barack Obama nationalizes our banks and health care system in Hugo Chavez’s tradition. I seriously wonder if Obama will start to govern the country like a true dictator…

Outlander on October 23, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Obama. It’s the new Chavez.

Mojave Mark on October 23, 2008 at 9:02 AM

It’s ironic that Venezuela and Iran, energy-resource rich as they are, reduce their citizens to impoverishment and use their wealth to buy munitions. Throw Russia into the mix, too, and we see another troika bent on absolute power through force and abuse of its people.

A looming axis of evil that Obama will ignore?

onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 9:03 AM

If Barack’s elected and oil prices stay low, odds are 50-50 that six months from now someone’s going to try and sneak a low-interest IMF loan proposal to Venezuela for infrastructure repairs through Congress.

jon1979 on October 23, 2008 at 9:08 AM

This piece reminds me of the WSJ commentary earlier this week of how, if Obama becomes president, he will override Congress by using EPS bureaucracy to shut down coal-fired electrical plants in the name of reducing carbon output. The Midwest, home of Obama’s dreaded Red States, will be left in the dark.

onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 8:56 AM

No, Obama will let us have electricity, but only from windmills. When the wind is not blowing, we’ll use flashlights.

Maxine Waters will preside over the nationalization of the energy industry.

petefrt on October 23, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Will this mean Team BO will no longer be bragging about having Hugo as a financial advisor donor to the campaign?

David in ATL on October 23, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Fixed it.

txdoc on October 23, 2008 at 9:12 AM

A looming axis of evil that Obama will ignore?

onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Well, of course. Obama supports Whirled Peas.

petefrt on October 23, 2008 at 9:15 AM

A looming axis of evil that Obama will ignore?

onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Nope, one that He’ll want to join.

rbj on October 23, 2008 at 9:16 AM

Remember when “deregulation” and the “free market” (read: government intervention) caused the rolling blackouts in California?

LibTired on October 23, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Quick! Somebody send Bill Ayers the memo that Hugo-land is not the paradise that both are promoting.

[onlineanalyst on October 23, 2008 at 8:56 AM]

LOL. Ayers: Well, Texas had a blackout this summer. Oh, and my house lost power this spring when Bernadette plugged in the new Super Mixmaster I got her for May Day.

Dusty on October 23, 2008 at 9:21 AM

The future with Barack Obama…rolling blackouts for everyone! Get those home generators if you haven’t already gotten them and get that fuel for them before the prices shoot up again…

Matt Helm on October 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

He has promised to end our dependency on oil/dirty energy in 10 years.
A combination of stopping economic activity, banning cars and weekly national blackouts should do it.

neuquenguy on October 23, 2008 at 9:21 AM

I worked down there several years ago. If Hugo is opening the wells up too fast the oil wells will sand out in a heart beat, and will be pretty much useless. I have a feeling that is happening.
Couldn’t happen to a better feller’

Offshore_Drilling on October 23, 2008 at 9:21 AM

I seriously wonder if Obama will start to govern the country like a true dictator…

Outlander on October 23, 2008 at 9:00 AM

One of the disturbing trends is, like most dictators, that he seems to have an addiction to self-aggrandizement. Rememeber the greek columns, and books already writen about him and about him about him? They have already started construction in Grant Park for the largest victory celebration in history, and statues cannot be far behind.

neuquenguy on October 23, 2008 at 9:28 AM

After watching the heart-wrenching video of McCain’s POW interview, I must thank HotAir for bringing a bit of joy into my day by putting this picture on the front page.

I can guarantee I will not see a funnier picture today. Thanks.

Abby Adams on October 23, 2008 at 9:29 AM

“Socialist”

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality. McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black. It set whites apart from those deemed unAmerican and those who could not be trusted during the communism scare.

Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star
To reach him, call 816-234-4723 or send e-mail to lduiguid@kcstar.com

What a load of “I feel like we got a righteous wind at our backs (Obama)” everything is all about BLACK & NOTHING ELSE.

Duiguid’s incorrect supposition is wrapped in his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.

Journalists today are media pimps who lack background in anything beyond fabricating whole cloth from revisionism.

Duiguid displays his own particular bigotry, claiming that “socialism” is a code word for “black” AS THOUGH SOCIALISM HAS NO HISTORICAL DEFINITION INDEPENDENT OF AN ASSIGNED COLOR. Duiguid does himself and his black “righteous” cause a huge disservice. Stupid and pathetic are rarely clever. But then, pimping reporters are no more icons than tools of their owners.

KANSAS isn’t in Kansas any more. “That one” calls his campaign’s perpetrated fraud tornado a “righteous wind.”

1. ACORN fraudulent mortgage lending economic collapse
2. ACORN fraudulent voter registrations
3. ACORN fraudulent voter turn-out results
4. MSM PIMPS defrauding journalism of truth
5. OBAMA fraud the American public of his records
6. OBAMA campaign donations fraud
7. OBAMA campaign expenditure fraud
OBAMA ad nauseum fraud…

maverick muse on October 23, 2008 at 9:45 AM

No thanks, Mr. Obama.

hillbillyjim on October 23, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Sean Penn is probably down there for the purpose of solving this technical dilemma.

He’s wicked smart.

Hening on October 23, 2008 at 9:46 AM

OBAMAFRAUD

maverick muse on October 23, 2008 at 9:47 AM

NOBAMA. NOT WORTH THE RISK.

hillbillyjim on October 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Hening on October 23, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Now, that there’s funny, I tell ya whut.

hillbillyjim on October 23, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Obamafraud socialist righteous wind = FARC fart

FARC, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been blamed for numerous attacks and holds about 750 hostages, according to Colombian government estimates.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Friday for Europe to remove from its list of terrorist organizations two Colombian groups — including FARC, the group that freed two hostages Thursday in a mission Chavez organized.

“Take FARC Off Terror List” CNN.com/world January 11, 2008

maverick muse on October 23, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Move along, nothing to see here!

Grafted on October 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Chavez has something Castro does not — a fortune in oil revenues. What happened to all the money? Where has he put Venezuela’s money?

Check Obama’s credit card receipts.

Seriously, having spent a bit of time there in the past several years, the possibility of Chavez ending up in a similar fashion as Mussolini is getting better by the day.

Vashta.Nerada on October 23, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Chavez

ELN, the National Liberation Army, the second-largest rebel group in Colombia, also is blamed for killings, kidnappings, and other attacks.

[Chavez] argued, “I say this even though somebody might be bothered by it: the FARC and the ELN are not terrorist groups. They are armies, real armies … that occupy a space in Colombia.”

He added that the two groups’ “insurgent forces” have a goal, “a project,” that is “Bolivarian” and that “we respect.”

“Take FARC Off Terror List” CNN.com/world January 11, 2008

maverick muse on October 23, 2008 at 10:07 AM

the possibility of Chavez ending up in a similar fashion as Mussolini is getting better by the day.

Vashta.Nerada

Either Chavez becomes another Fidel Castro or another Mussolini.

maverick muse on October 23, 2008 at 10:09 AM

I’ve read that Venezuela’s oil output has been falling in recent months.

Add to this, the collapse in oil prices this year.

Drill, baby, drill! Right into Chavez’s wallet.

It’s ironic that Venezuela and Iran, energy-resource rich as they are, reduce their citizens to impoverishment and use their wealth to buy munitions.

In a further irony, hasn’t the left often accused Reagan and Dubya of doing the same thing, impoverishing Americans while buying lots of weapons, but looking the other way when unfriendly countries (like the USSR) do/did the same thing?

Well, they’re half right, we have bought lots of weapons, but for the most part, Americans are doing better than the people of these unfriendly countries.

Bigfoot on October 23, 2008 at 10:11 AM

The question is where the money has gone…and certainly not invested in the electrical or oil production infrastructure.

Hugo has other interests he has spent the money on, and has installed managers who are incompetent to the task of running a business, but are reliable when Hugo tells them what to do.

A fish rots from the head down. Proved again. I will cry for you, Venezuela, but just a bit. Sean Penn and Jimmah Cahtah should take up residence to help Hugo clean up the mess.

Harry Schell on October 23, 2008 at 10:21 AM

He must stop taking the advice of that parrot.

Talk about a one-trick pony.

Black Adam on October 23, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Awww man, all the free pies are gone, the only thing left is the crappy old socialist bowls. Next time, I got to be quicker to get in line. I hear most of the Venezuela stores that used to sell food are now running on empty.

Socialism doesn’t fail, ask any lefty, it just runs out of other people’s money to give away. In the end, the result is the same, tyranny. Socialism, in it’s many forms, murdered near 100 million people in the 20th century, and now represents change and hope to many. May the ones seeking hope and change be the first in line.

tarpon on October 23, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Another Socialist Engineering Failure

When are these guys going to ever learn….

Kevin in Washington State on October 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Read the piece entitled Cocaine Jihad over at Powerline. The dots are there if you wish to connect them.

Makes you wonder about Barky’s unwillingness to support free trade agreements with Uribe’s Columbia.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2008/10/021852.php

Angry Dumbo on October 23, 2008 at 11:03 AM

What we do know from the article is that, when an American company owned and controlled the grid, power was available and apparently could be counted on.

Sometimes you have to burn your fingers on the stove to learn that you shouldn’t touch the stove. I fear that’s where we are headed right now.

unclesmrgol on October 23, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Barack obviously got his idea that everyone will have to wear a sweater and turn down the thermostat from his buddy Chavez.
Indeed Chavez went on Venezuelan TV (Chavez TV) two days ago to say he was thrilled the US was going to elect its first Socialist President, Obama.
Well, you can imagine the media here rebuking Chavez for his racist comments about Obama! NOT.
Chavez stated that he couldn’t say much before the election, but that he had contacts with his friends in the US.
Makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

eaglewingz08 on October 23, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Hugo Chavez looks like some sort of bizarre Boy Scout in the picture listed, complete with…. a parrot? What the hell?

Tacitus_SGL on October 23, 2008 at 12:22 PM

my wife and her family were originally from cuba… her father and almost the entire family had to flee fidel castro… and where did they go? venezuela… now, almost all of her family has left venezuela to get away from hugo and his madness (fidel, pt. 2). they’ve been seeing this coming for a long, long time. nothing new for them.

part of the definition of insanity is failing at the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. seems to apply to socialists. for every generation, there appears to be a new flock of socialists who disregard a history of failure and the millions upon millions who have been murdered as enemies of state, with no right to voice opposition… they seem to forget that guys like Che Guevera murdered/executed millions and wear his face on their shirts thinking, “yeah, che is pretty cool.”

in the meantime, chavez blames each and every single problem that his country faces on the United States. it is only a way for him to scapegoat the US for his failures.

he’s been praying for an Obama victory from the start. i wonder why?

thedude on October 23, 2008 at 12:23 PM

…Hugo Chavez smiling face blasts out,

“Live from New York…It’s Saturday Night!”

[Wild Applause] [Cue Saxophone]

Saltysam on October 23, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Actually, it’s more like this.

“Live from New Castro… It’s Saturday Night!”

*silence*

Kaitian on October 23, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Viva la Change!

29Victor on October 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Hey, Ed…I wonder where our old friend Dave is?

Dave, if you’re out there, we’re all breathlessly waiting for you to explain to us all how this is just more anti-Chavez propaganda, meant to distract from the horrors of the Bush Administration and to discredit the socialist workers paradise that’s been created in Venezuela?

rvastar on October 23, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Not sure which of the birds in the picture has the bigger brain…I know who has more guns, though.

Chavez couldn’t care about this either, as long as he suffers no inconvenieance from it. A destitute people, if disarmed, are easier to manage. Ask that other humanitarian, Mugabe…

Harry Schell on October 23, 2008 at 1:55 PM