The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Venezuela’s Infrastructure Woes Worsen

Venezuela’s state-owned energy company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA), has delayed re-opening the Amuay oil refinery following a massive explosion.

Coming only months before the next election, this incident is shining a light on President Chávez’s weak record on infrastructure. The blast, which killed 50 people, is just one of several recent failures involving bridges, roads, and more. His opponents point out that this is the result of official negligence, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Maintenance does not win votes,” said Leonardo Mata, president of the Venezuelan Society of civil engineering. “The government is interested in political benefits, not preventative measures.”

In an annual report submitted to the National Assembly in March, PdVSA said a series of refinery-upkeep efforts last year were delayed until 2012 due to what it called the “low availability of materials.” Amuay was among the facilities that had maintenance delayed.

We’ve joked before that Chávez was the kind of leader who could drive a resource-rich nation into an oil shortage. If the infrastructural decay continues, there won’t be anything funny about the results for Venezuela’s people.

Published on August 30, 2012 3:35 pm
  • http://fat-city-usa.blogspot.com/ Walter Sobchak

    Socialism always fails. Always.

  • Cbinflux

    I built some hi-tech equipment on that site in 1980-81. I was shocked to see the rust and disrepair in 1998! Socialism sucks.

  • Crocodile Chuck

    This is the pot calling the kettle black:

    http://www.asce.org/reportcard/

    Nothing like American Exceptionalism, eh, Walt?

  • Corlyss

    Gee. I’d like to feel sorry for the Venezuelans, but Chavez is theirs, democtractically elected quite a few times. They got what they deserve.

  • Foobarista

    This is the classic “red” versus “expert” problem from the Mao days in China. Mao tried to argue that if one was politically reliable, one would somehow magically come up with the right conclusions due to what would be called “out of the box thinking” today. Unfortunately for this line of thinking, any complex society needs experts, and replacing them with politically reliable but uneducated sorts ends up causing problems.

    It sounds like Hugo is learning his Chinese lessons one refinery explosion at a time.

  • Jim.

    @Foobarista-

    Sounds like Mao’s thinking has a lot in common with the myths about “diversity” nowadays.