Haiti may rescue Venezuela

Chavez - joke's over
Chavez - joke's over

At the same time as the Venezuela government introduces measures to ration electricity, President Hugo Chavez accuses the US government of deliberately engineering the Haitian earthquake.  But the sight of U.S. Marines on Venezuelan TV, risking their lives to save the poorest Haitians, reminds Venezuelans that those Marines could help save them.

It might set Venezuelans to questioning just why Chavez remains their president.  If it does, the irony would be of U.S. Marines taking Chavez down — without even firing a shot.

Chavez told Spanish newspaper ABC that the earthquake was the product of a “tectonic weapon” launched by the U.S. Navy in a test-run for the U.S.’ ultimate target: Iran. As lunatic as it sounds, the Venezuelan dictator knows what he’s doing: Haitians are vulnerable now and seeking to make sense of the catastrophe. Chavez’s words try to tap into an existing Caribbean cultural undercurrent of paranoia about CIA influence to discredit U.S. help.

That’s important to Chavez because U.S. aid is building vast reservoirs of goodwill in Haiti and beyond and it will come at the expense of his own. Amid a crippling drought, Venezuelans cannot understand why the oil-rich country’s businesses and shopping malls have been told to operate on half power. Electricity demand is more than 16,500 MW, far higher than what is generated. Authorities are warning of forced power cuts and rate hikes if the measures are not followed.

A decree published on Christmas Eve states that commercial centers may operate from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on the electricity grid, but beyond that establishments would have to operate off-grid, using their own generators. Venezuela is flush with oil–the country’s primary export–and natural gas, but relies mainly on hydroelectric generation to meet domestic energy demand.

The power crunch is expected to have an impact on a variety of businesses, including cinemas, casinos and bingo halls. Experts say the power sector requires US$18 billion in investment through 2014. In 2009 there were four nationwide blackouts, with daily failures common in several cities. For Chavez, the U.S. aid contrasts sharply with his own promises to Haiti he never delivered on. The sight of U.S. troops delivering aid swiftly exposes him as a blowhard who runs his mouth and breaks his word. In March 2007, Chavez paraded around Port-au-Prince as crowds cheered, promising Haiti a $100 billion development fund.

He vowed to provide $57 billion to improve the country’s only airport, to build Haiti a new refinery and to construct four new power plants. He even promised a Hollywood movie depicting Haitian founding father Toussaint L’Ouverture, disbursing $9 million of a promised $18 million to actor Danny Glover for the project. To date, not of these promises has come to pass.  The film is inpre-production,two years later and Haiti still has the same four battered electrical plants it’s had for years. It has seven inactive plants and new off-grid plants built by U.S. companies such as APR Energy for operation in remote areas. (The Americans got those plants up in 30 days, by the way.)

The broken promises to Haiti present a challenge to Chavez at home. His attempt to buy influence in Haiti through aid (much of it, by the way, to political “activists” in Cite Soleil where little quake damage occurred) is unpopular at home. Even with $800 billion in oil earnings, Chavez’s mismanagement of Venezuela has left it with food shortages as well as electricity rationing. But the continuous sight of U.S. Marines on Venezuelan television, risking their lives to save the poorest Haitians, will remind Venezuelans that those Marines could have saved them in Vargas, where Chavez shut out U.S. help and 50,000 died.

15 Responses

  1. most of the “American” live being risked for helping the Haitians are Black and Hispanic kids. The dishonorable American is only in Haiti to cash-in. All you have to do is listen to foreign news reports on the ground in Haiti, the dirty American interfering with aid.

    Seriously, a nation as filthy and corrupt as the U.S.A. can hardly be expected to perform any kind of humanitarian aid. This nation is better suited for porn and torture.

  2. RE: Rupert and Murdoch & Co.

    Some think Off-Grid means living on your own personal island, butthatis not so. We are all connected, if not by the power grid, by social, economic, and political ties. The energy shortage in Venezuala and subsequent propaganda from the governments surrounding us affect us all, in subtle and often unnoticed ways. Thank you Off-Grid for such a story.

  3. Off-Grid is now another mainstream news distributor in the pay of Rupert Murdoch &co? part of the NWO?
    Venezuala refuses to use “petrodollers” to sell its oil.
    So the US built power plants,what is Haiti in dept to the world bank/IMF for now?
    Reports like this have NO place here!

  4. LUKE you are wrong. I am from Venezuela, i dont know where you got those facts, but Chavez is a charlatan, he controls the media, and he never fulfills his promises. He is a corrupt dictator just like any other.

  5. Many of those hydroelectric dams were built for Venezuela by US companies and I know personally of many US volunteers who went there and freely developed and designed the systems and DAMs for them, once completed were promptly kicked out. Those so called free and open media outlets get daily censorship and the country has a problem with so-called independent media types getting disappeared when they push the independent voice too much. They news id highly censored too, watch the reports they produce mix and cut in military scenes from other places to make it look like Marines are hurting people, looting and fighting against Haitians. And let us not forget his soaring popularity is mixed with an extreme fear from among the people so they proclaim support because they understand the consequences of not doing so. The middle and upper classes have been devastated, the high educated have mostly been removed form all areas of responsibility and yes literacy is up but it stops there high education is significantly controlled. Free healthcare? Well sort of, the government controls reporting and rations care so that instead of most getting good care, everyone is getting lousy care. Universally bad health care is still bad but I guess so long as everyone is getting it thats okay.

  6. Chavez never said that the US caused the earthquake with some kind of teutonic bomb. This is an entirely fabricated story and you should publish a retraction and an apology.

  7. Does this article really have anything to do with off-grid, or iare the few off-grid hints placed there just to introduce political points of view that have little if not no9thing to do with off-grid issues?

  8. Yes support for Chavez is falling – to less than 60%.
    (How most politicians would dream of such a level of support!)
    Chavez remains popular – despite the electricity shortage, despite the high crime rates, despite a largely opposition controlled media and a very conservative church hierarchy.
    Chavez stands behind the people the way the people stood behind him when he was overthrown in a coup regime of Carmona.
    Since 1998 illiteracy has vertually disappeared, All have universal healthcare and education. Poverty levels, especially those of the extreme poor have been dramatically cut. There are now more independent media outlets in Venezuela than in the United States – a country 10 times the population. They have a constitution that guarantees human rights.

    Those who fortell his doom do so somewhat prematurely.

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