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Billions of Petrodollars Later, Still No National Railway in Venezuela

By: Joel Fensch - Jan 15, 2015, 3:57 pm

EspañolHugo Chávez, with his grandiose style of buying prosperity by way of writing big checks, found that previous governments had done little with the country’s need for a proper railroad system, and resolved to make it happen.

(While China modernizes its railroad system with German technology, Venezuela will get its scraps
While China modernizes its railroad system with German technology, Venezuela will get its scraps. (@cianciulises)

Well, 15 years and billions of petrodollars later, Venezuela does not yet have a national rail system, nor even a regional one.

However, we have miles of unfinished track, bridges, and tunnels which stand as a monument to the corrupt practices of the socialist-communist ideals Chávez and his cronies held in such high regard.

Furthermore, it is China that has been designated to head up the development of our new rail system. While Beijing modernizes its rail system utilizing German technology, we are being supplied with all that which that country no longer needs. It would seem that China’s old rail cars have been cleaned up, repainted, and refitted to introduce Venezuelans to the marvels of rail travel. That is, if and when the government pays its debts, musters up some cash flow, and finishes what it began 15 years ago.

The Chinese are enjoying rail travel as it is known in the 21st century around the world with its high-speed trains and the comfortable, silent, and efficient systems they are incorporating for everyday life in China. We, on the other hand, will most likely be left to enjoy rail systems as they were in 19th century.

Sadly, the bottom line is that Venezuela most likely has actually paid for a modern rail system and that the difference has been pocketed by the fearless leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.

So running a country definitely it is not just a question of writing checks, depending, of course, on what side of the equation you are on.

Joel Fensch Joel Fensch

Editor of InsightSur, Fensch covers geopolitical and historical events in Latin America with the PanAm Post.