Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sunday morning odds and ends 

There has been some tit for tat and debate in the press over a report on social indicators and poverty in Venezuela. I had been meaning to write on it myself but I’m afraid that will have to wait until my HTML skills get a little better and I can make tables. In the meantime there was an excellent article on the subject by Carlos Herrera over at Vheadline. I highly recommend going over and reading it.

On another topic, anyone who has spent time in Venezuela knows that country has huge environmental problems. One source of pollution is of course the oil industry which has never been concerned about the environment and has gone from one environmental disaster to another over the years. And unfortunately the Chavez administration hasn’t done much to remedy that problem either. For an excellent account of this I recommend watching the film “Nuestro petroleo y otros cuentos” – “Our oil and other stories” (it is in Spanish and unfortunately I haven’t found a version with sub-titles)

But another source of pollution is Venezuelans themselves. Almost all public spaces in Venezuela – streets, parks, beaches - abound in litter. The Christian Science Monitor had a good article on this here. Here is one quote: “We are great generators of garbage. The Venezuelan culture isn’t environmentalist and [is] much less into recycling”. That has to be the understatement of the year.

Fortunately, someone was out yesterday at least trying to do something about it. Here is a picture of the Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Juan Barreto, out helping clean up trash in the El Cementerio section of Caracas.

Its a small gesture but still nice to see.

Finally, there is another very interesting little piece in the CSM. Their anti-Chavez reporter, Danna Harman, became ill and had a less than agreeable experience with a private Venezuelan physician. So much so that she wished she had just gone to one of the Cuban doctors in Missione Barrio Adentro!! Her final thoughts: "The critics may be right about President Hugo Chávez's antidemocratic tendencies, but it's hard to dismiss the effect these Cuban workers are having on the poor. I'm not surprised that Chávez's popularity has risen."


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