Tag Archives | Venezuela

Margarita Island: Venezuela’s Party Prison

jp-04venez1-popupSuppose prison was fun? Venezuela’s San Antonio prison houses 2,000 convicts, including many foreigners from around the globe, mostly convicted on drug charges. They can do anything they want, except leave — there are pool halls, dance parties, swimming, drugs, guns, gender mixing and unlimited visitors. Crazy, yes, but is it any worse than what we have here? The New York Times reports:

Bikini-clad female visitors frolic under the Caribbean sun in an outdoor pool. Marijuana smoke flavors the air. Reggaetón booms from a club filled with grinding couples.

Prisoners barbecue meat while sipping whisky poolside. In some cells, equipped with air-conditioning and DirecTV satellite dishes, inmates relax with wives or girlfriends. (Venezuela, like other Latin American countries, allows conjugal visits.) The children of some inmates swim in one of the prison’s four pools.

Luis Gutiérrez, the warden at San Antonio prison, refused to discuss the prison he nominally oversees. Renowned on Margarita Island as a relatively tranquil place where even visitors can go for sinful weekend partying, is in a class of its own.

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Venezuelan Inmates Take 22 Hostages Including Prison Director

Miranda State, Venezuela. Photo: Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H.(CC)

Miranda State, Venezuela. Photo: Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H.(CC)

In an effort to bring attention to the outbreak of tuberculosis in El Rodeo II prison, inmates are holding officials hostage. Prisoners are hoping such actions are a loud enough shout for help to have medical teams sent in to examine them. BBC reports:

Inmates at a jail in Venezuela have taken the prison director and 21 other officials hostage in an effort to draw attention to an alleged tuberculosis outbreak.

The prisoners at El Rodeo II prison in Guatire in Miranda state are demanding a medical team be sent into the jail to deal with the alleged outbreak.

The government denies there is a tuberculosis outbreak.

Officials say they will not negotiate until the inmates release the hostages.

Deputy Interior Minister Edwin Rojas said holding the officials hostage was “not the most adequate way [for the inmates] to proceed to make their grievances known”.

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Squatters Take Over 45-Story ‘Tower of David’ in Venezuela

Could you ask for a more poetic sign of the times? Simon Romero and Maria Eugenia Diaz report from Caracas, Venezuela, for the New York Times:

Architects still call the 45-story skyscraper the Tower of David, after David Brillembourg, the brash financier who built it in the 1990s. The helicopter landing pad on its roof remains intact, a reminder of the airborne limousines that were once supposed to drop bankers off for work.

View of Caracas taken from Mount Avila by Gloria Rodríguez (CC)

View of Caracas taken from Mount Avila by Gloria Rodríguez (CC)

The office tower, one of Latin America’s tallest skyscrapers, was meant to be an emblem of Venezuela’s entrepreneurial mettle. But that era is gone. Now, with more than 2,500 squatters making it their home, the building symbolizes something else entirely in this city’s center.

The squatters live in the uncompleted high-rise, which lacks several basic amenities like an elevator. The smell of untreated sewage permeates the corridors.

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Chavez Blames U.S. Gov’t for Absolutely Everything That’s Ever Gone Wrong in History of the Planet

Blather.net has been around for more than a decade and is one of the best sites for disinfo-style content.  This article about Hugo Chavez is funny and sad.  The constant pressure of U.S. interests has turned Chavez farther and farther away from sanity since the attempted coup of 2002.

From Blather:

Presidents Chavez and Ahmadinejad blame Obama administration for the Haiti earthquake, conflict in Israel, 13th century plague, the Crusades, the sinking of the Titanic and the clogging of Kim Jong Il’s toilet. A special conference, convened by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has met in Caracas Venezuela to explore ways in which alternative historians can justifiably blame the United States of America for any natural, political or military disaster since the dawn of time.

Historians, anthropologists, economists and randomly selected performance artists gathered together for a lavish five-day event at the Universidad de Pandejos, Caracas at the invitation of the Venezuelan and Iranian presidents.

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USGS Claims Venezuela Sits on Earth’s Largest Oil Reserves

From The Raw Story:

Venezuela may have just become the center of an energy-starved world.The Orinoco Belt, situated squarely underneath the South American nation, may hold some 513 billion barrels of crude oil, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

That’s twice the size of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, placing Venezuela firmly atop the list of oil-rich nations.

The timing of the USGS announcement is striking. On Jan. 28, international firms will take part in an auction for contracts to drill in the Orinoco Belt. The deadline for auction registration was Jan 18, according to industry publication Petroleum World. Results will be announced on Feb. 10.

However, the USGS did not make an estimate of how much oil is actually recoverable. The Orinoco Belt’s reserves are typically thick and tar-like, with some patches difficult to reach with current drilling technology.

[Read more at The Raw Story]

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Venezuela Plans To Artificially Change Weather

From Reuters via AlertNet:

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he will join a team of Cuban scientists on flights to “bomb clouds” to create rain amid a severe drought that has aroused public anger due to water and electricity rationing.

Chavez, who has asked Venezuelans to take three-minute showers to save water, said the Cubans had arrived in Venezuela and were preparing to fly specially equipped aircraft above the Orinoco river.

“I’m going in a plane; any cloud that crosses me, I’ll zap it so that it rains,” Chavez said at a ceremony late on Saturday with family members of five Cubans convicted of spying in the United States.

Many countries have programs aimed at altering weather patterns, commonly known as cloud seeding, although the effectiveness of such techniques is disputed.

Firing silver iodine at clouds is one common method. China uses rockets loaded with the chemical to spur rainfall in arid regions.

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