Power is on, thanks to fragile agreement


Two years after Pemón Indians toppled newly built transmission towers here to protest Venezuela’s plan to send electricity to Brazil, power is flowing across the border. President Hugo Chávez Frías, joined by Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso and a special guest—President Fidel Castro of Cuba—formally inaugurated electric service last month in the Venezuelan border town of Santa Elena de Uairén. The project, linking Venezuela’s Macagua II hydroelectric dam on the Caroní River to the northern Brazilian state of Roraima, began during the previous administration and continued under Chávez. Brazil and Venezuela hail it as a step toward regional integration. Chávez, meanwhile, has used it to present himself as a regional leader. But environmentalists fear the power lines mark the beginning of the end for... [Log in to read more]

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