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Oil spill in Venezuelan

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ON FEBRUARY 4th Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president, presented festivities to celebrate the anniversary of an unsuccessful coup attempt he led in 1992. He previously busloads of public workers introduced into Caracas for event. Among them were high-ranking staff members of PDVSA, the state oil company.

That exact same time, a pipeline carrying pressurised oil fractured within the condition of Monagas. The crude soared 25 metres (82 legs) in to the air and flowed for a complete day. From 40, 000-120, 000 barrels poured into a river that supplies drinking and irrigation water. Some 550, 000 folks today lack water at home. Although city-dwellers can fetch it from drums that PDVSA is leaving in streets, folks in remote places are going without. It may take months to wash the supply.

Few details can be found about the spill's cause, size or the harm this has inflicted. PDVSA's website quotes Alejandro Hitcher, the environmental surroundings minister, ruling out an “environmental disaster”. But there's been bit additional communication. PDVSA's spokesman neither answers their phone nor returns calls to their office. A representative associated with Monagas government says nobody can review because “we're working quick hours because of water situation”, though it is offering changes on Twitter.

That includes remaining the spill ready for speculation in a heated political climate. It will surely provide ammunition for Henrique Capriles, circumstances governor who won the opposition's primary on February 12th and became the challenger to Mr Chávez into the October presidential election.

PDVSA features struggled under Mr Chávez. In 2002 its employees went on hit to try to force him from office. In reaction, he fired 18, 000 PDVSA staff members, including senior managers. He then stuffed the business with thousands of loyalists from just what would later on become their United Socialist celebration (PSUV).

Ever since then oil result has stagnated, and accidents take the rise. Relating to Eddie Ramírez, one of several sacked managers, the “old” PDVSA averaged not as much as two accidents per million man-hours. This season there were 9.4 accidents and very nearly six deaths per million man-hours. In December 15 folks passed away after petrol dripping from a PDVSA tanker caught fire on a primary road.

A full account of the latest spill is a country mile off. But José Bodas, the head of the oil workers' union, blames corrosion and faulty maintenance. “PDVSA is falling to pieces, ” he says. “As very long while you're a member regarding the PSUV, they do not care if you are incompetent.” Mr Hitcher insists that no oil has now reached the San Juan lake, which flows into the sea. But Mr Bodas claims it really is currently coming.

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