Saturday, August 25, 2007

Trouble in paradise 

In Venezuela you certainly don't have to go far to find some spectacular bueaty. Almost anywhere along the northern coastline, for example, will do:

Fine sand beaches, palm trees and crystalline water certainly are appealing and Venezuela has them in abundance.

Unfortunately, they are not unspoiled. In fact, along these beaches, just like everywhere else in Venezuela, Venezuelan's disregard for their own environment is apparent. Just yards from the beaches pictured above is this:

It if often said even pictures cannot do justice to the real thing. That is particularly true of this situation. There are no pictures I could take that could convey the way in which Venezuelans, of all social classes and political persuassions, have turned their country into a rubbish dump. Trash is literally everywhere (well, except for maybe the Caracas metro).

One time I was riding in a car and discussing this very problem with the person driving. He was drinking out of a plastic cup and when he finished promptly tossed it out the window - with no apparrent sense of irony.

Of course, if Venezuelans don't give a hoot about such things while lounging at the beach or driving in their car much less do they care if it involves their making money. Here one entrepreneurial Venezuelan set up a roadside oil changing business:

Of course, there has to be a way of disposing of the garbage generated by this nice little business right?

In Venezuela this is not a problem:

There you go - problem solved, sort of.

Of course, I could be accused of harping on a petty and minor problem. Or even worse, of using my petty bourgeois American values to unfairly judge Venezuelans.

But even if that is true, it is not the point. The point is that the mindset exhibited above leads to much greater problems. Fourty years ago the sides of highways in the U.S. were dumps too. But the real catastrophe was Great Lakes catching fire and Love Canals being created.

Right now Venezuela is facing similar catastrophes. Think I'm exaggerating? Stay tuned.


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