April 24, 2007

Three blimps, and Barreto makes four

Katy says: What's in my inbox? First up: Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto's purchase of three blimps equipped with security cameras to monitor criminal activity (read the BBC's take on this here).

Now, I won't bother you with an explanation of why this is a silly publicity stunt more than anything else - the revolution is long past the point where reasoning counts for anything. Suffice to say that it's going to take more than three blimps to tackle Caracas' murder rate.

Let's instead have fun discussing the irony of the massive Barreto buying hot-air balloons. Or perhaps we can wonder how long it will be before Yoldan-hoodlums with time on their hands use the balloons for target practice, and the things come crashing down on the unsuspecting citizens of our fair city.

I'm also left wondering what use it will be to record, say, a mugging or a murder if the recording is to be made from so far above that the perpetrator will hardly be recognized. Certainly the police won't show up for hours, and we know the court system is useless in a country where 97% of the tens of thousands of murders that happen each year go unpunished.

To top it all off, the balloons are apparently covered in government propaganda saying something like "we are watching you." I wonder if the balloons' cameras recorded the councilmembers receiving the zepellin-sized kickbacks they obviously got for approving this purchase.

Oh well. At least the blimps got Barreto some publicity in both the BBC and this blog.

Another reader sends me links to Manny Lopez's columns from Venezuela. Lopez, a columnist for the Detroit News, holds nothing back when writing about his impressions of Chavez's Venezuela. Here's an interview with Lopez; here he talks about prohibition and scarcity; here he riffs on Barbara Walters; here he discusses oil-for-propaganda and Joe Kennedy. He also discusses crime, the RCTV case; Venezuelan cuisine and talking-head-for-hire Eva Gollinger.

It's nice to see a major US media outlet doing such a thorough job of covering Venezuela.