Poetry: Venezuelan capital blacks out while Maduro gives a pre-election socialist address
posted at 6:01 pm on December 3, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
And for that brief, unshining moment, poetic justice was served as the causes and effects of socialism came triumphantly, undeniably face to face. Via Reuters:
Venezuela’s second massive power outage of the year plunged much of the nation into darkness on Monday night, prompting renewed talk of sabotage from President Nicolas Maduro’s government and cries of incompetence from its foes. …
Maduro was giving a live address on state TV when he was abruptly cut off. He later Tweeted that he was continuing to work in the presidential palace despite the “strange” blackout, and appeared live on state TV surrounded by school children.
“Be strong against this electrical war that yesterday’s fascists have declared against our people,” Maduro said in another address to the nation at about 11 p.m. local time. …
Of course, Maduro and his allies immediately blamed the widespread rolling blackout — similar in breadth and duration to the early September blackout that was one of the worst in Venezuela’s recent history — on that perfidious coalition of wealthy right-wingers and imperial foreign powers he ceaselessly insists is responsible for every negative economic vagary Venezuelans are going through, blah blah blah. Enough already, man:
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said government officials’ bellicose statements were “pathetic” at a time of national disquiet. “For once in your lives, be responsible,” he Tweeted.
Capriles and others say the reasons for the power failures are obvious and simple: lack of investment, incompetence and corruption within the state-run power company Corpoelec since Chavez’s 2007 nationalization of the sector.
Indeed. For further insight into why Venezuela’s economy is basically cannibalizing itself, one need look no further than the latest of those “emergency decree powers” Maduro just deployed in yet another pre-election bid to appeal to Venezuelans’ increasingly disgruntled sensibilities. The government is now setting limits on prices for cars — i.e., another resplendent victory over the tyrannical forces of supply and demand, huzzah!
Maduro said Monday that he would use new emergency decree powers granted by Congress to enable the government to set “fair” prices for all cars sold in Venezuela. At the same time, used vehicles won’t be allowed to exceed the price of newer models, he said in televised remarks.
Automobiles purchased in Venezuela generally jump in value as soon as they leave the dealership’s lot as decade-old currency controls reduce the availability of imported cars and parts, leading to months-long waiting lists. Carmakers including Ford and Toyota are on pace to churn out 70,000 vehicles this year in Venezuela, about a third of their capacity and less than the 104,000 they produced here in 2012.
Amid the shortage of new cars, demand for even decade-old clunkers has been soaring as Venezuelans buy durable goods as a store of value at a time their salaries and savings are being eroded by 54 percent inflation and a plunging currency.