“Chavez is just loco [crazy],” said Enrique Linares as he
looked down from his small concrete home, past the immediate sight – and
stench – of mounds of rotting rubbish, to the skyscrapers that oil built in
the valley beneath El Junquito. “We’re supposed to be a petro-state,
and look how we live.”
It is the opinion of people like this that should particularly worry Mr
Chavez, because the unemployed construction worker, who looks much older
than his 42 years, was a long-time supporter of El Commandante.
But 10 years after Mr Chavez launched his socialist “revolution”,
funded by an oil boom that has poured an estimated $800 billion into his
coffers, the energy-rich state is plagued by ever more frequent power cuts
and desperate water shortages.