The US has finger-wagged at other countries for decades, alleging they can't care for their people. But when disaster strikes at home, America is not prepared, with the winter storm in the Lone Star State just the latest example.
The storm that ravaged Texas and moved northeast last week revealed, once again, major failures in America's infrastructure, causing unnecessary suffering, and even death, in affected areas. Power outages worsened during the week, depriving over 4 million people of electricity.
Pipes froze and burst, water treatment plants shut down and household taps stopped flowing. Even some hospitals were without water for days while people lost heat and stood in long lines searching for food. The big chill contributed to a deadly toll of over 70 fatalities across several states among people who perished from carbon monoxide poisoning, in house fires, during road accidents, and by freezing to death.
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner warned of food shortages and "a food supply chain problem like we've never seen before."
With the worst of the storm over, as of a few days ago over 14 million people still remained without a consistent supply of clean drinking water, and hundreds of thousands of Texans had no electricity.
Granted it was an unexpected winter storm in states that don't usually experience such extreme cold, but if the Texas power grid and the nation's emergency response were better, perhaps some of the deaths could have been avoided.
Even officials from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reportedly admitted the Texas grid was "seconds and minutes [from possible failure]," and that the power outages "could have occurred for months."Venezuelan Government Was "Incompetent" When Similar Power Outages Occurred
Similarly, in March 2019, the lights went out across Venezuela, in an outage which the Venezuelan government accused the US of orchestrating by means of combined cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids.
Certainly, the second round of power outages which followed were indeed physical sabotage, with the main Guri Dam Hydroelectric Plant attacked, causing a fire at three transformers.
I got to Venezuela three days into the first outage, at a time when Western officials and media were accusing the Maduro government of incompetence, blaming it for the outages, and feigning concern for the same Venezuelans who were dying under Western sanctions.
Media were in chorus depicting scenes of chaos and food shortages. But, as I wrote at the time, wherever I walked and went, I found supermarkets supplied, and in Petare, a district known as the largest "slum" in Latin America, "I found vegetables, fruit, chicken and food basics sold wherever I went, from the main square to hillside barrio of 5 of July (5 Julio)."
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