Friday, September 28, 2007

Pictures of the Transbarca Trolley 

I decided to give ow and the comments section a break with a new post, just adding info on the mass transit system for the fourth/fifth city in Venezuela.

More pictures and maps here



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where is participatory democracy when you need it? 

I'm still working through some very interesting reading on Venezuela. Of course, I'm hearing a lot about things like social justice and participatory democracy. They all sound very good.

Thing is though, where exactly is this "participatory democracy"? Is it only allowed within very prescribed limits? And if that is the case is this "participatory democracy" really anything meaningful?

Recently the decision was made to change Venezuela's time by setting clocks half hour back. This decision was made at the highest levels of the government (by Chavez himself?) and announced to the country as an already made decision.

In spite of the fact that it clearly effects all 27 million Venezuelans 99.99999999% of them had no say in it at all. Why?

When they have their daylight hours is probably a decision most people would like to be involved in. Some might like to have daylight when they awake in the morning. Some may not be bothered by darkness in the morning and would rather have daylight in the evening so they could go play ball with their kids after work. Of course people living in eastern Venezuela and western Venezuea could decide to go their seperate ways and split the country into two seperate time zones.

All of these options and more could easily have been presented to the Venezuelan public to vote on. Clearly Chavez has not studied the issue in depth to determine what is best - he and his advisor/brother didn't even know if clocks were being moved ahead or back. To have a month or two of discussion on this issue and then have people go vote on it is certainly something that could easily be organized by the electoral authorities. Yet for some reason the decision was handed down from on high with ordinary Venezuelans haveing no say in it.

If participatory democracy, or even just plain real democracy, can't be exercised in such a straightfoward case as this then when and where will it be exercised? Or is it all just a bunch of theoretical mumbo-jumbo?


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