The neverending subway


Valencia Subway: A delay of monumental proportions

The central government has some good news for the people of Valencia: At the end of this month, the first two stations of the subway’s Line 2 will finally be opened. Víctor Moreno, chairman of C.A. Metro de Valencia announced this to State news agency AVN during an inspection:

“At the end of this month, we will start operations on these two stations, and we estimate that in two months time, both will be 100% ready. We’re going operational. We don’t have to delay the operations further so Valencianos can use their stations. Security is guaranteed.”

Not that the subway’s chairman admitted that the delays were long though. I mean, FOUR. YEARS. LONG. And to compensate, they’re going to open the stations with 30% of the work incomplete (according to the official version of the story, there’s only less than 10% left to do).

The Valencia Metro system has a long history of delays and certainly the opening of the second line will be a relief in more ways than one: With the end of the construction work in sight, the north side of Bolivar Avenue (one of the main roads in the city) will see the lifting of limited access for vehicles, a welcome reprieve for the stores of the area.

But the head of the local commerce chamber Gustavo Sosa Izaguirre is quite skeptical of the news, and he shared his concern with El Carabobeño’s Darryl Blanco. He says that the fall in sales caused by both the construction work and the current economic slump won’t be solved with the upcoming inauguration. He also accused authorities of leaving them out of recent consultations and inspections.

But Valencia isn’t exclusive to underground problems: Caracas Metro’s Line One just went through “modernization” works in the last few days (which will go on later this year). However, there were some major delays in the service. Could the troubles with Odebrecht have something to do with this? Who really knows…

17 thoughts on “The neverending subway

  1. You call 4 years a delay? Wonder what’d you call then Metro Guarenas – Guatire then. They promised that it would be 100% functional in 2007. Today. it’s still in construction.


  2. As usual, look no further than the perennial common denominator in everything related to Vzla:

    Corruption. These Metros de Venezuela are major Guisos, a den of Thieves.

    Heck, even from the time when the Metro de Caracas started, the 90’s, with the French teaching the corrupted locals. I know first hand, I was nearby in the Cortijos de Lourdes offices for many years, and was friends with many French expatriates and Venezuelan Engineers from Ocimeca, etc. What a mess!

    The main problem was always corruption. They had to bribe and grease everyone, the sindicatos, the politicians, the procurement officials to get parts, the sub-contractors, everyone.

    And that was back we they stole a lot less in Corruptzuela, when we had a “democracy” and a bit of accountability. I can only imagine the Galactic Pilfering going on now. So here’s your explanation, without fancy macro-economic, global Financial theories.. the longer these project take, the less you actually deliver, the more you can steal. Simple as that.


  3. I met this guy in the university who’s father was a contractor for El Metro. In mere couple of years he move from middle-middle class all way up to upper-medium class (in terms of Caracas real state: From La Urbina to La Lagunita). I saw him later on when the company I was working for was in a bidding process to build a road to the upgrader close to Temblador-Morichal. Nevertheless to say that his first approach was to grease me up to get the contract. Thanks in good part that I was working for a transnational, that kind of approach was unaccepted but I will confess that it was an attractive proposition. I won’t lie and I won’t be pounding my chest, that’s the way we do business in Venezuela, period. The oil industry is by far the most corrupt of all, it is just covered with a lot of money so it is not as overt as other ways to steal money: civil works.

    The true of the matter is that culturally Venezuelans are prone to corruption. There amay be many factors and whatnots, call it: low income, impunity, lack of moral fiber, education and so on. The thing is that who will not take advantage of getting dirt money when the government allowed 21 billon dollars to disappear, money laundry under the name of PDVSA and its president is part of the corruption circle.

    The word is pragmatism, the very worst cultural strain we Venezuelans have…


    • “The true of the matter is that culturally Venezuelans are prone to corruption. There amay be many factors and whatnots, call it: low income, impunity, lack of moral fiber, education and so on”

      It’s an anti value, called “being an asshole”

      Said antivalue was made socially acceptable in Venezuela, that’s why it’s so hard to eradicate right now and so many people is infected with it.

      “The thing is that who will not take advantage of getting dirt money when the government allowed 21 billon dollars to disappear, money laundry under the name of PDVSA and its president is part of the corruption circle. ”

      Add to that the fact that the whole state structure was mutated into a gargantuan corruption engine that pushes and squeezes everyone forcing them into the gutter, because its creators are stupid imbeciles who only think in how much cash they can pocket right now without thinking in the consequences later, you can call that “being a marginal” too, because marginales are innate idiots.


      • It is not an anti-value it is what it is. It is cultural, build on you since you went to elementary school.

        In school we learn to cheat all way up to university. Our parents cheat the fiscal de transito (Traffic law enforcer), the taxes and the condominium rules. Workers abandon their work a soon supervisors are out of sight. Our government officials show that you can rob and cheat with impunity and they are actually glorified for and in spite of. Being a “vivo” is part of the game, cut the line, keep the change, take what is misplaced, use and don’t pay, get caught and move your influences to get out. Sign a contract get half of the money upfront and disappear.

        The few people that follow the law are compensated by staying in the back of the line, by frustration of being robbed by the albañil, by the store owner making 1000% profit, by the government stealing the taxes or by mismanaging the economy. Even by having to leave your country and end do typing your frustration in a blog.

        To fix the problem you must recognize the problem, that is not being an asshole, that is being realistic.

        I certainly do condemn the corruption but what you got is a deeper issue with more than 100 years in the making. It is not “socially acceptable”, it is historical, cultural and very well rooted in our system. And not, it is not “mutated in to a gargantuan system”, it has been there since JV Gomez; it does not mutate, it is not new, it is just perfected by the ones that get to touch it and make life from it. Call it “Sierra Nevada”, “Autopista Chuspa-Osma”, “Recadi”, “El Coliseo”, “La concesiones petroleras”,”Cadivi”, “La partida secreta”, “Los jeep de Ciliberto”, etc.. etc..

        Now, you may want solutions… You want to take el rancho out of the individual mind before taking the individual out of the rancho.

        Well, that starts with good income, with social balance and with a lot of wiliness to stop corruption before corruption transforms you. Starts with honoring all jobs and working people regardless what type of job they do. Starts with getting rid of the concept that we are rich because we have oil, and the oil is ours. Reduce oil production and push people to work on something else. Stop the influx of easy money that feeds the corruption and drain the liquidity out of the market. But all over those things, stop the populism and develop an independent justice system with effective checks and balances that treats everyone equally regardless of social class and/or political power.

        Then, perhaps, we may evolve into your vision that I do share.

        May want to take a look in these couple of articles. The BCV one is just an Chavista attempt to justify their program. Wish the wrote it again today..

        Click to access rbcvs012008.pdf


  4. Don’t think Venezuelans are genetically prone to corruption as some suggest.

    It’s a combination of multiple factors: Lack of Education, and too much Oil, usually.

    The countries with the most corruption (African, basically, plus Iraq and Vzla) have that in common.

    Arturo Uslar Pietri warned us long ago..


  5. I could not agree more. Putting aside the psycho babble, the econotalk, the ideological ranting, and you are left with one problem. Greed! A basic rule is that individuals will act to maximize their own utility (whatever they define that as – happiness, wealth, power etc) The laws of supply and demand even control something as disgusting as corruption. Ethics and laws are supposed to determine the limits to greed so when a government that is corrupt itself essentially ignores its own laws and is devoid of any ethics whatsoever you have a complete breakdown in the fabric of society and you have what is technically referred to as a clusterf*ck. The laws of supply and demand are fully in force. Because supplies of basic goods and services are withheld from the demand through a collection of incompetence and greed a scarcity develops and people’s ethics and adherence to laws with deteriorate or cease to exist and people will do “anything” to get their hands on what they want. Crime rates sky rockets because general society’s utility is transformed from the pursuit of happiness to basic survival and when a person is backed into a corner and facing death unspeakable things will be done in the name of survival ( the same can be said of politicians facing removal from power). Add to that, the aphrodisiac of power and more people who now have power ( collectivos, kidnappers, smugglers, drug dealers, government officials, military, police) and you have a complete breakdown in moral fiber and ultimately anarchy and a ruthless dictatorship will rule until the masses and/or the international community force a change. Bottom line with the huge oil reserve’s this nightmare will continue for years because the world will condemn the dictatorship while sucking at the wellhead for the life blood of industry, and not really do anything concrete to stop this horror show, and of course the ones who really suffer in the end are the poor people of Venezuela, the only growth sector of the economy. Venezuela is doomed for at least a generation IMO.


    • Emelia,

      I would like to place a more subtle spin on the word “greed”. It has been said that human self-interest is the greatest productive force known. The entire system of market capitalism relies upon millions upon millions of people all working in their own self-interest. Certainly, under some definitions, this self-interest and “greed” could be interchangeable terms. The problem is not “greed” per se. The problem is “short-sighted greed”.

      A truly modern society operates from a concept called “Enlightened Self-Interest”. This means that people are are mature enough to “delay gratification” and act in a manner to maximize their long-term self interest. This means people cooperating to create a stable and just social and political matrix in order to benefit the entire society for the long term. By doing this, the individuals are acting in their own “enlightened self-interest”. An act which appears “altruistic” can, in fact, be a calculated investment in the future.

      The real problem with Venezuelan society, IMO, is “Immaturity”. But, life has a way of presenting us with experiences that force us to grow up. Venezuelans are a bit like a trust-fund kid. No matter how many errors were made, the trust fund was always big enough to buy their way out of trouble. But, now the trust fund has been squandered, and Venezuelans are about experience the cold, cruel world without it. They are going to experience suffering and deprivation that they could never have imagined. In short, they are going to be forced to “grow up”.

      In a sense, this is already happening. I have already seen a “sadder, but wiser”, more mature attitude about life from young Venezuelans. It is the older generations, spoiled from years of enjoying the gravy train, that just don’t seem to want to learn.


      • Venality is a naturally built in trait of the human condition, all man are venal , this is natural and normal , venal means that we all are born with an inclination to privilege our self interest and the interest of those whom we feel emotionally closest to vs the interest of others or of abstract personifications such as the state , humanity etc . Calling it greed serves to vilify it to make ourselves believe that we are so moral that we are inmune from it . Why has venality developed in all normal human beings ? beause it serves a survival and reproductive function in a state of nature and evolution has thus made it part of our nature.

        The thing is that we have different natural attitudes towards different different kinds of people , if we are dealing with people whom we emotionally identify with we are more likely to be altruistic than venal in our treatment of them , if we are dealing with people whom we dont feel much emotional identificacion with then we become more venal than altruistic . Being venal doesn mean being a monster who relishes doing harm to others , it just means that in case our interests or those of our kin and friends collide with those of strangers we will tend to favour the former before the latter . provided of course we can get away with it. The idea is not to harm others but to favour our selves .

        There is a natural exception to this inclination which takes two forms , one we normally dislike harming others phisically if we can avoid it and second there is a natural sense of compassion which sometimes lead us to help those who are innocent and happles ( dont represent a threat to us) and suffer some great misfortune , thus the famed reference to widows and orphans and children and old people.

        Other than what we will deal with others on a basically venal basis with some restraint arising from the civilizing development of personal philantropy and generosity as a badge of being entitled to consider ourselves good and nice and worthy or others good opinion ( which is a great sop to our natural vanity, something which is not supposed to exist but which really is very important to the operation of our psyche) .

        Another great natural instinct is the instinct for reciprocity or retribution which has us do good to those that do good to us and harm to does that harm us , in like measure . Finally there are people we see as our natural enemies and whom we loathe and scorn so that harming them seems like an act of justice .

        Years ago some american (US) pyschologists did a test with a number of subjects to see what kind of standards people used in the treatment of people they were not close to , the results : some 60 – 70% percent acted on a retributory basis or tit or tat , I scratch your back if youll scratch mine basis . some 18 percent acted on a predatory basis , If I have a chance of profiting from harming someone elses interest , thats fine and permissible provided one can do so without fear of retaliation , and some 12-15% were people who felt good at helping and and favouring others interests if it didnt mean making to much sacrifice of their own .

        Of course culture and life conditions can deeply affect the above results , culture and changing social conditions can foster a culture of respect and reciprocity or one of predatory exploitation of the weakest or most vulnerable or one where people are basically philantropic and altruistic without expecting anything in return . The topic is inexhaustible and nothing said here can do anything but scratch the surface but couldnt resist the tempation to add my little grain of sand to its discussion .


  6. Response I would give if I were Chavista:

    “So what, this is nothing compared with the delays in the second avenue subway line…can you say 1929?”


  7. It has always seemed to me that a massive expansion of public transit was the regime’s ticket out of the gas price increase debacle that seems to paralyze decision makers but for now, looks like too little, too late.


  8. Anyone seen a picture of the 10 million signatures?

    Some rough estimating: Say, 40 signatures per page, would require 250,000 pages. A package of 500 sheets of printer paper is about 2 inches thick, or about 200 inches cubed = 0.1 feet cubed. (250,000 / 500) X 0.1 = roughly 50 cubic feet of paper.

    Pretty hard to miss, you would need a pickup truck.


  9. ¿Tanto rollo para dos estaciones de metro? Para eso hubiesen puesto unos carritos de golf para que lleven a la gente entre las pocas cuadras que separen las estaciones y nos ahorramos toda esa plata,


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