José Toro Hardy: Chavismo has become an expert in finding culprits to cover up their flaws

Photo: La Patilla


In the opinion of José Toro Hardy, economist and oil expert, Chavismo has become an expert in finding culprits to cover up its innumerable flaws that have triggered accidents such as the fire in the waste lagoon of the Puerto La Cruz refinery, which occurred last Monday September 19th.

By La Patilla – Javier A. Guaipo

Sep 21, 2022

Mr. Toro Hardy, who was a member of the PDVSA board between 1996 and 1999, lamented that these types of events “caused by lightning” have become frequent in the state oil company in recent years, since in the past it was quite difficult for them to occur.

“In the so-called ‘meritocratic PDVSA’, the security protocols were quite strict, but unfortunately they have been relaxed a lot. Today we see that they attribute the fire to lightning, when all refineries must have working lightning rod systems. At the time, there were very modern systems, but the current reality is that, if they exist, they are not working well.”

The oil expert reiterated that at the time Venezuela had one of the largest refining complexes in the world, such as Paraguaná, which had high-tech equipment and no large-scale accidents like now.

“It is worth remembering that terrible accident at the Amuay refinery 10 years ago, which left more than 40 dead. There apparently was a gas leak that lasted for several days and the prevention mechanisms did not work so that what could have been prevented finally ended in tragedy.”

Toro Hardy reiterated that it has become a Chavismo custom to say that accidents are the product of sabotage. “They always look for someone else to blame.”

Likewise, he explained that the maintenance of all the facilities of the oil industry is extremely demanding and before it used to be carried out periodically.

“It was planned well in advance and at the time of the technical stoppage, the spare parts and materials were already available, but in recent years this has not been done. Apparently, only when a problem breaks out is when they focus on maintenance, and that is why there have been accidents in the refineries.”

Finally, the economist added that it is also a factor that PDVSA does not have the same quality of personnel that it used to have, since between 2002 and 2003 were laid off 20,000 workers who on average had 15 years in the service of the industry, which in turn translated into enough work time experience.

“Today they still have qualified personnel, but not of the same quality or experience as they had back then.”

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