Filed under: Developing Nations, Foreign Policy, Islam, Latin America, National Security, Politics | Tags: Body Count, Iraq, Mexico, Venezuela
From Richard Fernandez, blogging at Pajamas Media:
With regional enemies challenging the new Iraqi government by sending car bombs against the police it is interesting to note that in many ways the upheavals are worse even closer to home. Seventy two persons, perhaps illegal immigrants drawn by a border which politicians refuse to close, were found dead in a Mexican ranch close to the US border.
Things are much, much worse than Mexico in that socialist paradise Venezuela, which the NYT says is far more dangerous than Iraq. So bad in fact that the government has ordered the newspapers not to report any more killings.
In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,544 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year the number of murders climbed above 16,000.
Even Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives.
Sometimes a few statistics help to put things in perspective. It is a complicated, difficult world out there; and it is incumbent on us to struggle to understand what is going on. A job most of us have far too little time for.
Filed under: Energy, Latin America, Statism | Tags: President-for-Life Hugo Chavez, Twisty Light Bulbs, Venezuela
Venezuela has had a bad drought that has dried up the hydroelectric plants that supply more than two-thirds of its power. The country has been suffering through the worst energy crisis in the last 50 years. But Hugo Chavez has a solution.
The Venezuelan president-for-life has sent the Venezuelan army out to distribute thousands of Firefly energy-efficient CFL bulbs. They have also put electricity rationing into effect. It seems that Venezuelans are the highest energy consumers per capita in Latin America. Venezuelans use more than 1,000 Kilowatt hours per person more than the second most enthusiastic users in Chile.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the government’s heavy-handed approach, which includes a vigorous education campaign and fines for major domestic energy consumers. Businesses worry that the forced blackouts, rationing and fines may severely effect Venezuelan productivity.
Obama has set aside $3.4 billion in Stimulus funds to “jump-start” “Power Grid 2.0″ in the U.S. No details on when the army will arrive with twisty lightbulbs.