Thursday, March 26, 2015

Street Scenes

extrajudicial electrical use
 There's talk of nationalizing Guatemala's electrical infrastructure, which would definitely lead to a seizure of foreign assets such as clothing factories* and fruit plantations. I admit I support these developments but I would advise caution with the electrical services because it takes some training to keep that running. Something like 1/3 of utilities users pay for the other 2/3 who simply patch into the electrical grid, bypassing meters. Well, that would be an improvement, actually, in the eyes of the utilities folks because what's really happening is 1/3 are getting billed for the other 2/3 and of the 1/3 about 1/8 of those billed actually pay their full bill. So the math gets a little complicated because the common denominator is something like 24. Only around 1/24th of electricity usage is covered by customer payments. This leads to a totally intentional blackouts caused by the utility as a kind of ransom to get their payment, which is a 'blood from stone' situation. And that leads to street demonstrations. One departamento (state) declared an emergency because they had no power for a year.

As with all revolutions there can't be success without a thorough infiltration of the military, and with some training to actually run the utilities without an Atlas Shrugged scenario arising where electrical engineers have to be kidnapped and enslaved to keep the hydro-electric and coal plants working. That would be utterly distasteful to Oggy. The concept of seizure of the infrastructure isn't at all distasteful although the hell that would be unleashed by 'Noble Peace Prize winner' ObombanotherCountry would surely be horrific. These companies made investments in the wrong country. Caveat Emptor. I'd apply that to Cuba also, the fruit company asset seizure is absolutely no different than Bank of America seizing all the twisted loans offered by Lehman bros. People lost their houses...and BofA took them. Well in 1959 Che Guevara and Fidel Castro did basically the same thing and seized property that was tenuously built on the impoverished lifestyles of Cubans. Who is to blame? I guess it gets political at that point.

Oggy's taco fix
The south side of the central park becomes a late night market. I get goat tacos and french fries.

*I recently bought a factory second t-shirt at a big used clothing store down here. Oddly, the shirt was manufactured in Guatemala and is a Lucky Brand shirt I know costs $40 in Los Angeles and it's worth exactly $1.30 here in the origin. It's like flying to United Arab Emirates to buy a hair scrunchie destined for Hot Topic at the local mall in St. Louis. Of course the shirt was too big and I had to take it to a tailor, who took in the sides for another $1. I hunted for a palm frond hat in Quiche but those workshops must be hidden well. I know they export fine palm hats to the United States but I learned two things: 1) No one wears palm hats in Quiche. 2) No one sells palm hats in Quiche. In fact, the Panama palm hats they offer in the bigger cities are often listed as being made in Ecuador. This is insane to me since Guatemala has the finest palm hats anywhere...but Guatemalans buy Ecuadorian palm hats and ship their own palm hats so Americans can wear Guatemalan palm hats. I gave up.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.