Panem Chronicles

Picture it: a dystopian society where impoverished districts suffer so that (portions of) the Capital can enjoy a lavish lifestyle. Welcome to Venezuela.

Picture it: a dystopian society where impoverished districts suffer so that The Capitol can enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

That may sound like The Hunger Games’ tagline, but it’s Venezuela. After all, we’ve been getting more and more science-fictiony as time passes. With electricity rationing set to hit the entire country except for Caracas, our dystopia is finally realized.

Chavismo has had a long tradition on discriminating in favor of Caracas at the expense of what’s dismissed as “el interior” – the Caraqueño term for anything that is not Caracas. Caracas is Caracas and the rest is monte y culebra. Is it any wonder the proncies resent the hell out of the capital?

From a governance perspective, the discrimination is deep rooted. It is also a classic Venezuelan political assumption that what doesn’t happen in Caracas, isn’t happening at all.

True to form, our Minister for Electric Energy, Luis Motta Dominguez, is not going to play out of the textbook. Instead, he will continue with the discriminatory policies that his party is very much known for.

Starting on Monday, all Venezuelans except for those in The Capitol Capital will have to contribute a “grain of water” to bring Guri’s reservoir to normality. The sacrifice: 4 hours a day “programmed” blackouts.

Of course, the minister measured his words and hedged his ability to deliver, warning that “other fortuitous blackouts may occur due to a tree branch or sabotage,” as if fortune had anything to do with an overcaffeinated operator failing to keep the crippled national grid running, following a plan to turn off districts depending on demand spikes.

This of course is just making official what has already happened. The “interior” has seen unplanned blackouts for years now. The same happens with water where communities are left out of the precious liquid in favor of Caracas.

Of course, no chavista policy failure would be complete if it didn’t come with a threat. Eastern municipalities of Caracas could be included in the electric rationing if they don’t use electricity more efficiently. What is efficient here, or even what will be done with other parts of Caracas, remains a mystery so far.

What else will Chavismo ask of its interior denizens in order to keep those in The Capitol content?

Rodrigo Linares

Many interests, little time. Mechanical Engineer, first from USB, later from MIT. Making a living as a machine designer.