Our Little Chernobyls

You’d think San Cristóbal is Raqqa: Every other day, we’re told some power plant or refinery has become the target of terrorism in Venezuela. When tragedy becomes a joke, people pay with their lives.

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.

Victor Cuotto

Victor usually writes about geek culture and punk music. In 2015, he won the Concurso Venezolano de Literatura Fantástica & Ciencia Ficción SOLSTICIOS. He thinks Magneto makes some valid points.