VIO News Blog

October 23, 2008

Electrical Service Continues Uninterrupted in Venezuela

A blackout in Venezuela last Sunday that lasted approximately forty five minutes is still making news. The AP reports that three engineers employed by the state-owned EDELCA were charged with causing the failure. Meanwhile, Reuters claims that because this is the third brief outage this year, Venezuela is “struggling to maintain basic electrical service.” Electricity was nationalized last year in a controversial move that has raised hackles in the private media. However, the state’s new investment in electricity is meant to expand access to infrastructure in rural areas and increase the efficiency and affordability of the service.

Closing statements were held this morning in the trial of Florida-based Venezuelan businessman Franklin Duran. The Miami Herald reports that Duran could face 10 years in jail for acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The Herald points out that experts on Latin America say the trial is politically motivated: Professor Bagley of the University of Miami said, “The United States has gone after this case because they want to embarrass the Chávez government.” A Wall Street Journal article does just this, expounding on the corruption allegations that have surfaced in the trial despite their lack of relevance to the proceedings against Duran.

Caracas newspaper El Universal reports on the escalating use of anti-Venezuela statements by the McCain-Palin campaign in the US. Senator McCain has emphasized the need for so-called “energy independence,” while Governor Palin called President Chavez as a “dictator” and suggested “the imposition of sanctions.” When asked if she supports military intervention in Venezuela, Palin said ambivalently, “Military action must always be the last resort.”

Finally, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions yesterday against Iran’s Export Development Bank, as well as those of banks it claims are affiliates, including Venezuela’s Banco Internacional De Desarollo. The Treasury moved to freeze their US assets and prevent from doing business with US citizens.

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