I don’t know if you know, but Venezuela has survived some hardcore terrorist attacks recently.

Last week, as covered by El Nacional, the Corpoelec building in San Cristóbal, Táchira state, was attacked by two Molotov cocktails and a grenade, setting the whole thing on fire. The Electric Energy Minister, Luis Motta Domínguez, went on record about how cowardly the attack is, even causing damage to a local medical facility.

Earlier this month, another attack went down, this time in Bolívar. Five energy towers were totaled, and Motta predicted the attacks would get wilder as the December elections approach.

That, at any rate, is the official story. Sabotage has been alleged more and more often for years, actually, with people dying in situations where it’s really hard to paint a clear picture of what happened.

Luis Motta Domínguez, went on record about how cowardly the attack is.

To you and me, this whole thing is “these fools are lying again because they cannot admit their own incompetence.” But you know when it gets effed up?

When you imagine your brother is one of the victims.

In August 2012, the Amuay Refinery in Falcón blew up, killing 47 people. Workers had been complaining about unsafe conditions, damaged equipment and lack of spare parts for at least a year, but Hugo played the fool and Nicolás Maduro would later say the whole thing was sabotage, when mystery men purposely switched the proper bolts somewhere, knowing it would provoke a tragedy.

It took 96 hours for that fire to die down and the government blamed it all on “sabotage.”

Imagine losing your loved one and not even be considered worthy of the truth.

I’m not saying there aren’t miserable or opportunistic people out there willing to risk a deadly electric shock to steal wires. What I’m saying is, if you blame everything on iguanas and Capriles going around with giant pincers, where does the personal horror end? Nobody goes to jail, there’s no mea culpa and the government sweeps it under the rug, using your tragedy to paint themselves as victims.

I screwed up, but my boss protects me because it was his responsibility to supervise me.

It’s an old tactic. Because incentives for work are so weak and the enforcement of rules so lax, links along the chain of responsibility get rusty. When tragedies happen, turns out there were a bunch of people who could have done something to avoid it, but didn’t care enough. I screwed up, but my boss protects me because it was his responsibility to supervise me. It’s the same with his boss and so on, to the higher echelons. The Soviets did this so much, it became a mark of their decadence.

A estas alturas del juego, I know it’s naive to expect them to admit to such shameful negligence. We should be all glad that nobody died this time. But write it down. Keep records of it. Because maybe not today, not tomorrow, not next week, but one day, truth will come out and explanations will have to be demanded.

And be glad we don’t have a fucking nuclear plant.

42 COMMENTS

  1. As the decay continues, the resulting disasters will always be blamed on the opposition. Venezuelans rarely accept responsibility for their failures, less so Chavistas.

    • It’s not a matter of venezuelans, any human that can easily escape responsabilty of a disaster by liying will likely lie, it just happen that in venezuela as many other places, there is no enforcing of any law and aparently no one cares

  2. The ongoing lack of repairs is surely taking a toll (CCS Subway, water pipes…), and there are many people risking their lives for copper and other metals. Maybe some thieves set a fire to distract or cover their actions too.
    Firefighting equipment is also crippled, this looks like other self-accelerating process…

    • I suspect a major part of the problem is that everything not cemented into the ground, and some things that are, is getting stolen here. People who don’t live here have no idea how big a problem theft has become. No one fears the law. The only thing that keeps someone off your property at 2AM is the threat of gunfire and death.

      A guy who owns a farm between the main highway and the pueblo told me the other day that he woke up to find his fencing gone…..the barbed wire, 5 strands, for hundreds of meters. He said the fuckers didn’t even leave the fencing staples.

      I asked if his property wasn’t near the recently-installed GNB alacabala that’s manned 24 hours a day and he said that his fencing runs right up to it. They stole the fencing in the middle of the night within 30 meters of the guard outpost.

        • She’s lucky. Two farmers I know personally had just about everything they owned stolen last year. Same MO.

          One lives on a major highway and always left the gate open. I told him more than once that was very dangerous. About 8:30 one evening he gets a knock on his door and the guy on the other side tells him his car is stopped on the highway and he needs help. He opens the door to find a rifle in his face.

          Eight or nine guys enter the home, none wearing masks, tie him and his wife and son up in one room and commence emptying the house. During the process they stopped, cooked a meal with what was in his frig and freezer, ate, and then loaded the frig and freezer. He assumes they had their own vehicles because of the volume of stuff they stole, but they also took his flatbed truck and a dumptruck he used to haul gravel and sand for extra money.

          They literally emptied his house of everything, leaving his family with a change of clothes and a mattress. They left at about 3:30 in the morning. He never recovered anything. NOTHING.

          Another fellow I know arrived after dark at his place and was ambushed at his gate.

          Same routine. Tie him and his wife and kids up and then begin looting the house. This group though also loaded up some of his best cattle. He never saw the vehicle, but for the number of cattle they stole, he figures it was a gondola or what we gringos would call an 18 wheeler. They also stole two tractors so that had to involve another gandola with a low-boy. This group too left about 3:00 in the morning.

          Now, I’ve moved furniture from the city to the country and you need a friggin signed document the registrar’s office or you’re in deep shit at every alcabala. You can about imagine the documentation it takes to move cattle. So what does that tell you?

          A gd caravan of vehicles on the road with household furniture, cattle, tractors, etc at 3 AM and no fear of a single alcabala? There aren’t many roads in this country to begin with so it’s not like you have a lot of options when driving from point A to B to avoid detection.

          A guy once told me, “you’re not allowed to be wealthy in this country, or at least stay wealthy and honest”.

          • WoW! And of course thefts of the magnitude cannot happen without the cooperation of the national guards or the police.

          • China Syndrome. A 1970’s (I think) leftie-tree-hugger movie, named that because it hypothesized that if a nuclear reactor core “melted down” in the U.S., it would melt all the way through the Earth to the opposite side – China.

            (“Guasacaca Syndrome” IS hilarious. Good for a full minute of laughter. Any more, and one of my neighbors would have dropped by ….)

          • Nope, but close. Don’t know where you are Maria, or your origins, but your English is perfect. If you’re from the States and old enough, and enjoyed certain comedy, you might have caught the connection.

            Many years ago, 28 March, 1979 to be exact, in the US we had a major nuclear disaster, a partial core meltdown at a facility called Three Mile Island. Just 12 days before that accident, 16 March, 1979, a film called The China Syndrome had been released about a disaster at a nuclear plant…..the name of the film derived from the theory that escaped nuclear material would burn its way into the center of the earth until surfacing on the other side of the globe…..in China.

            Here are links to the film and the disaster itself.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Syndrome

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_Nuclear_Generating_Station

            Now, I love comedy and my favorite show at the time was Saturday Night Live. The actors and guests during that timeframe were some of the best ever in my opinion, and they did a spoof of the accident, the politics surrounding it (Jimmy Carter was president at the time), and the film itself.

            But instead of referring to the China Syndrome, they called it, The Pepsi Syndrome and Two Mile Island:

            Carl: There’s been an explosion in main housing.

            Brian: Listen, we’ve got to release the number three or that pump’s gonna blow.

            Carl: If the pump blows that could mean a meltdown.

            Brian: What is happening?

            Matt: I’ll tell you what’s happening. The Pepsi Syndrome.

            [ shows title: “The Pepsi Syndrome” ]

            Brian: Pepsi Syndrome? I’ve never heard of it.

            Matt: Only a handful of people know what the Pepsi Syndrome means. Maybe soon, everyone will know it.

            Carl: But, what is it?

            Matt: Well, the Pepsi Syndrome. If someone spills a Pepsi on the control panel of a nuclear power reactor, the panel can short-circuit, and the whole core may melt down.

            Brian: But, you spilled a Coke.

            Matt: It doesn’t matter. Any cola does it.

            Carl: Any cola? What about RC Cola?

            Matt: Yeah, RC does it.

            Brian: Canada Dry?

            Matt: Sure.

            Carl: 7-up?

            Matt: It’s harmless. It’s an un-cola. [ smacks his hands to his forehead ] Oh, wow! I could have had a V8!

            ——————-

            But the funniest moments were the scenes to follow with Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Benjamin, Dan Aykroyd as Jimmy Carter and Garret Morris as the cleanup ladyasked to mop up the spill of radioactive water.

            http://snltranscripts.jt.org/78/78ppepsi.phtml

            Hence, in Venezuela, the Gusacaca Syndrome.

          • 16 March 1979, The China Syndrome, a film about a meltdown at a US nuclear plant is released.

            28 March 1979, a partial meltdown occurs at Three Mile Island nuclear plant in the US.

            7 April 1979, one of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live episodes appears featuring Richard Benjamin and Rodney Dangerfield as guests. They do a skit called Two Mile Island, and the cause of the meltdown is because someone spilled Pepsi cola on a control panel.

            Carl: There’s been an explosion in main housing.

            Brian: Listen, we’ve got to release the number three or that pump’s gonna blow.

            Carl: If the pump blows that could mean a meltdown.

            Brian: What is happening?

            Matt: I’ll tell you what’s happening. The Pepsi Syndrome.

            [ shows title: “The Pepsi Syndrome” ]

            Brian: Pepsi Syndrome? I’ve never heard of it.

            Matt: Only a handful of people know what the Pepsi Syndrome means. Maybe soon, everyone will know it.

            Carl: But, what is it?

            Matt: Well, the Pepsi Syndrome. If someone spills a Pepsi on the control panel of a nuclear power reactor, the panel can short-circuit, and the whole core may melt down.

            Brian: But, you spilled a Coke.

            Matt: It doesn’t matter. Any cola does it.

            Carl: Any cola? What about RC Cola?

            Matt: Yeah, RC does it.

            Brian: Canada Dry?

            Matt: Sure.

            Carl: 7-up?

            Matt: It’s harmless. It’s an un-cola. [ smacks his hands to his forehead ] Oh, wow! I could have had a V8!

            Venezuela, some day in its nuclear future. There just has to be a Guasacaca Syndrome.

          • Dan Aykroyd as Jimmy Carter with his white boots checking out the damage, Laraine Newman as Mrs. Carter, and Garret Morris as the clean up lady sent in to mop up the radioactive water.

            Gawd that was a funny episode.

            Richard Benjamin as the Whie House press secretary: Now, there’s no reason for anyone to be alarmed. This is just like going to the doctor’s office for a chest x-ray……………over and over and over again.

            LMAO!!!! That had to be one of the best all time episodes.

        • Unfair. There’s more than one connection. I got an image of what people would look like (green guasacaca, btw). Just a blob with two wide little eyes and a big question mark “?”

          • Years ago I prepared a chicken gumbo for some friends visiting from the States. We were discussing the meal at the table and a girl friend (a local) who was invited for dinner started giggling. I asked her what was so funny and she said the word “gumbo” just sounded silly.

            I responded, gumbo sounds silly yet you eat a green sauce called guasacaca without cracking a smile?

  3. In Venezuela the pillaging or pilfering of others property when circumstances allow it has a long tradition , worse still if the property in question belongs to impersonal institutions or organizations , whether they engage in business or public activities ……,

    With the progressive break down in law enforcement in the last 20 years , the practice of pillaging pilfering the property of others has become endemic , recently however a threshold has been passed and now we have passed from pillaging to the violent seizure of others property by criminal bands and organizations , no one and nothing is safe from the depredations of the pillager or of band of criminal robbers………the armed police and national guard have become increasingly corrupted and many of them now join in the property stealing activity . Its even worse now because economic conditions are harsher than they have ever been creating an incentive to increased pillaging , pilfering and robbery.

    There is no way in which any business or organizationcan prosper or even survive where the general practice is one allowing the free for all pillaging and robbery of others property,

    We are not alone in this cultural propensity , other countries know the same problem. government or political corruption is just another face of the same phenomena , things are worse here because there is no real official interest in stemming its spread and official institutions normally controlling it have stopped working or have learned to partake of the activity itself .

    If we look at our historical origins , our indian ancestors had no notion of private property , most things ( except women) were shared , the spanish conquistadors came with the idea of pillaging the country to make their wealth or with a picaro attitude that taking things from others, by boldly and unscrupously using ones wits was something to admire and celebrate or to take malicious pride in…….the black slaves were not allowed to have property and got back at their masters by stealing them blind whenever they could . there are historical studies showing how these predtoy behaviours and attitudes where prevalent going back to colonial days. There was never a religious puritan streak modelling our collective mind to fear god and obey rules agaisnt the stealing of property.

    Add to that our mindself of relaxed ‘happy go lucky’, ‘devil may care’ ‘complacent, ‘laid back’ indifference towards any social norm that demands from us any kind of protracted disciplined effort or the sacrifice of our comforts , our lassitude in matters that require us to apply ourselves responsibly to some difficult or fatiguing task . how we are always looking for the short cut that will save us from any fatiguing effort , our indifference to the demands of duty. There are cultures which are nomomaniac (japan , germany) others which are nomophilic ( the US, most of the developed world) and some that are down right nomophobic, that hate social rules and impositions and will avoid them unless coercively forced to accept them (Venezuela , along with much of the Caribbean america) .

    Against this background should it surprise us that public utilities and facilities are being made to break down as robber gangs methodically and regularly steal their parts and materials ……..!!

    • I agree that there are definitely cultural aspects of the problems we’re facing today, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when a “leader” like Chavez tells a class of 8 year olds that, “it’s BAD to be wealthy”, that that somehow gets extrapolated to: the sky’s the limit for fixing the bad.

      Bill, I enjoy reading your thoughts on subjects Venezolano and I know others do as well. You should write for this site.

      • I second that motion about you Bill, you have an eloquent way with words and a definite grasp of the situation and the best part is you give us the background story as to why it is happening. I imagine that when Bill talks everyone shuts up and listens, you might learn something.
        Mr Rubio your contributions are also enlightening. We know its happening, it’s nice to understand why.

        • Thanks MZ. My problem is I let my frustrations get the best of me sometimes and I blow up. And I definitely don’t suffer hyprocrites and elitists lightly so in that regard I can be an ass.

          Bill Bass does write eloquently and obviously knows the country and the culture quite well. I don’t know if he’s ever considered doing some pieces for Caracas Chronicles, but he should.

          Another poster here is very good with the written word, saying things without overtly saying them, is William Crispin.

    • Mr Bass. Thank you for your writing. Even though I am native English speaker, I’ve never encountered the words nomomaniac, nomophilic, and nomophobic. I like them! What is odd is that I can’t find them in a dictionary. Perhaps they aren’t considered English yet?

      • Ron a word is coined every time someone utters a word which meaning other people instantly recognize without having to search for a dictionary , dictionaries record those words which have become of common usage…..but in fact ,historically speaking ,most of the words we now use , when they first started getting used, were not included in any dictionary ……. !!

        You can easily understand this if you speak several languages , there are always words which while current in one language do not exist in another , or exist in one language but dont convey the exact meaning they have in a different language …….!!

        The thing is that if you really like to understand things and think about them you often find ideas that have no precise word to designate them , so they become harder to both express and think so you must come up with a term that defines them and which you can use in language ……..!! think how the mathematical idea for ‘cero’ was always there , but there was no term to designate its existence , then around 1000 AD someone coined a mathematical term and sign for ‘cero’ which allowed the idea of the cero to start getting used in mathematical propositions .

        • Talking about new words makes me think of old ones and how they disappear from our vocabulary.

          I recall in 2008 in the run-up to the presidential eleciton, the word “outsourcing” seemed to be used a thousand times a day. Once Obama became president, I don’t think I ever heard the word again. Not sure why.

          It should resurface soon I imagine, though the economy isn’t mentioned much these days. Not sure why there either.

  4. Does anybody remember when diablodado ordered to burn the Parque Central Towers to cover his ass years ago?

    Pretty much the same MO.

  5. MRubio,

    Did you know that one cannot, anymore, watch that skit without paying for it? I tried to watch it again and even youtube is charging $1.99 for it.

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