VIO News Blog

June 23, 2008

Energy Policy Benefits the Public Good

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 10:22 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

A new program modeled after Venezuela’s revered youth orchestra has sprung up in some of Venezuela’s harshest prisons, the New York Times reported over the weekend. The project, which began a year ago in two prisons, is expanding to five this year. “This is our attempt to achieve the humanization of prison life,” said Kleiberth Lenin Mora, 32, a lawyer who helped create the prison orchestras. “We start with the simple idea that performing music lifts the human being to another level.” The project, jointly funded by the Venezuelan government and the Inter-American Development Bank, comes as prison and police reform take center stage in Venezuela’s national discourse.

On Saturday, Venezuela’s environment minister announced that mining in the Imataca Forest Reserve would come to an end. Citing environmental degradation and water contamination, the minister said that mining policies will from now on favor national interests. According to the AP, underground mining concessions will still be considered, but must take into account “what is left for the country.” U.S. and Canadian mining companies are currently in negotiations. In related news, the BBC looks at an affordable and eco-friendly housing program to help Venezuelans who live in poor barrios. The houses, known as petrocasas, are made using gas, which is turned into plastic, which then becomes recyclable. Watch the news special here.

In energy news, the AP reports that Venezuela’s minister of finance said he expects oil prices to continue to rise, in part due to U.S. refining deficits. Typically, the problem has been portrayed as one originating in producer countries, rather than stemming from a lack of capacity in consumer countries and excessive market speculation. Bloomberg reports that South Korea may invest in Venezuela’s Orinico Belt region, after sending an official delegation last weekend. South Korea and Venezuela are scheduled to sign a preliminary pact to cooperate on natural gas extraction later this year. Finally, a Washington Post editorial supports John McCain’s position that drilling for oil in the U.S. could give the country energy independence.

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