Thursday, October 23, 2008
Oil powerhouse Venezuela struggles to keep lights on
By Brian Ellsworth | October 22, 2008 | Boston.com
SAN FELIX, Venezuela (Reuters) - 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.
Marxist/Socialism - the quickest way to become 3rd World