Thursday, January 09, 2003

The Vanguardia is reporting that Hugo Chávez has brought in strikebreakers to work the oil wells in Venezuela; their incompetence has caused spills and fires at oil facilities. The El Palito refinery has suffered two serious accidents in three days, including one that caused fifty-foot-high flames and an enormous cloud of smoke that covered the whole town, and oil has been spilled all over Lake Maracaibo. In a town called Anaco the oil spilled managed to work its way into the sewers and the water supply. Where are the environmentalist leftists who are so worked up about the Prestige oil spill? Where are the labor unions, who should be screaming bloody murder at both Chávez and Lula da Silva for strikebreaking? And Lula's a union man himself! One of the accidents at El Palito included a large explosion which killed one worker and injured others. Journalists who tried to get access to the huge refinery were kept out by Chávez's "Bolivarian Circles", gangs of street-fighting thugs comparable to Hitler's SA. Only eight percent of Venezuela's normal daily oil production is being produced due to the strike. The banks, meanwhile, which have been on semi-strike--open three hours a day--are going on a two-day full strike. Not even credit cards will work. The Venezuelan people are showing real courage, putting their jobs and their bodies on the line for freedom. Chávez must go.

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