Monday, April 12, 2010

Venezuela's Energy Market May Be Chavez's Downfall

Wouldn't it be just great?

Venezuela is up for state-level elections in a few months, and things are not good in the energy sector (now adding to consistent woes in the food sector).

According to STRATFOR:

While the Venezuelan government continues to stress sabotage as the cause of the electricity crisis, government figures on the water level at the Guri dam are not consistent with the reported lack of rainfall at the reservoir.

The government has reached the point of blaming active saboteurs for its energy woes--whether this is simply propaganda or a personal delusion of Chavez is unclear, but the question at hand is this: how tightly does the government control information?

Somewhat-recent protests at the shutting down of an opposition television station suggest disgruntlement with the current information strategy of the Venezuelans (somewhere between the feelings of the citizenry of Iran and China on the issue). Such disgruntlement may mean some transparency exists over the actual mismanagement of Venezuela's electricity sector, which could mean that crackdowns and accusations of sabotage might only be making Chavez's life more difficult in the long run.

The election will tell. Unfortunately, even a resounding defeat for Chavez in the local elections is unlikely to lead to regime change in Venezuela or a loosening of Russian influence in South America.
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