World View: Venezuela Refinery Explosion Threatens Chavez's Reelection

World View: Venezuela Refinery Explosion Threatens Chavez's Reelection

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:

  • Catastrophic oil refinery explosion in Venezuela threatens Chavez’s reelection
  • New rioting in Kenya after assassination of al-Qaeda linked cleric
  • Proposal for ECB to purchase toxic bonds gathers steam

Catastrophic oil refinery explosion in Venezuela threatens Chavez’s reelection

A devastating explosion and fire at Venezuela’s main Amuay oilrefinery has already killed 48 people and destroys severalneighborhoods in the vicinity of the refinery. Officials hadpredicted that the fire, which began on Saturday, would be undercontrol by Monday evening, but instead the fire spread on Monday to athird fuel storage tank, raising the spectre of more possibleexplosions. 

The explosion is being blamed on a gas leak that neighbors say theycould smell for several days prior to the explosion, which sent ashockwave tearing through the surrounding area, shattering shops andhomes and littering the streets with debris. Many people are blamingpresident Hugo Chávez’s incompetence and mismanagement as beingresponsible. However, Chávez is angrily denying that his governmentowned and run oil refinery could be so incompetent:

What you say you heard suggests something that ispractically impossible in an installation of this kind, thelargest refinery in the world. It is completely automatised and ithas thousands of responsible workers here day and night, civiliansand military. There is no way that there could have been a gasleak during three or four days and that no one didanything.

The explosion comes two weeks after a major bridge collapse,followed by a prison riot between two armed groups that killed25 people. Opponents of Chávez are calling Venezuela a “countryof accidents,” as Chávez fights for reelection on October 7.

The irony, of course, is that the Amuay oil refinery used to be ownedby an American oil company, but was nationalized in 1976. If it werestill foreign-owned, then Chávez could speak for hours on TV about thehorrible capitalist Americans. But now he’s stuck with taking theblame himself. Bloomberg and Guardian and AFP

New rioting in Kenya after assassination of al-Qaeda linked cleric

At least one person was hacked to death as thousands of angryprotestors took to the streets in Kenya’s coastal city Mombasa, afterSheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a terrorist linked to al-Shabaab andal-Qaeda. According to his widow, “A car behind us aimed at myhusband, they shot him on the right side.” According to aU.N. report, Rogo has been recruiting militants for the Somaliaterrorist group al-Shabaab. Four churches were vandalized andvehicles set ablaze in Monday’s rioting, which follows violent riotsin another city that we reportedon last week. The Daily Nation (Kenya) and CS Monitor

Proposal for ECB to purchase toxic bonds gathers steam

It’s the Bundesbank against the world. Germany’s central bank standsalmost alone in opposing the plans for the European Central Bank (ECB)to “print money” and use it to purchase toxic bonds issued by troubledcountries, such as Greece, Spain and Italy. The Bundesbank is warningthat any such program would allow any country to go into debt withoutlimitation, allowing all spending programs and corruption to continueand grow. There are several different bond-buying proposals on thetable, but what they all have in common is that the ECB would befunding the debt of eurozone countries, something that’s in violationof various treaties. Still, the Europeans are so desperate that itappears that one of these plans will be adopted. Meanwhile, the nextmajor showdown for Greece will be at the summit of EU leaders onOctober 18-19, and it will supposedly be decided at that time whetheror not Greece will remain in the eurozone. Spiegel

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