The Caracas Metro gets Odebrecht-ed

On the heels of overseeing the collapse of a crane in one of Brazil’s new World Cup stadiums, the Brazilian company Odebrecht continues to wreak havoc in construction sites all over the continent.

This time, armageddon happened in the future Las Mercedes station of the Caracas Metro, as the video shows.

I guess when you’re a firm that doesn’t compete on the merits, when you don’t participate in public tenders that force you to be on your game but, rather, you succeed thanks to the connections of your country’s political patrons … well, stuff like this happens. Regardless, the Odebrecht-ization of our country continues, and while this makes us get verklempt, it also gives us a tiny bit of schadenfreude.

(HT: @nmcrooks)

51 thoughts on “The Caracas Metro gets Odebrecht-ed

  1. Schadenfreude, Juan, Schadenfreude. “Schäden” is the plural, but even in Venezuela where there are so many Schäden, I think the preferred term is Schadenfreude.

    Public tender? When did I hear deputies asking time after time for pubic tenders in Venezuela?

  2. Senior Nagel, ‘verklemmt’ not ‘verklempt’ and it really doesn’t fit well in this context.
    “beschämt” cabe mejor, creo.

  3. OT: Ramirez hints that gas prices will cover at least production costs. That means VEF 2.4 2.7 per liter.

    Quico had made the case for MUD to project the image of “We know how to solve this mess”, but I’m starting to feel we’re going to have an inverse scenario: Maduro taking advantage of the non-electoral 2014 to “soft devaluate” by shifting lots of sectors to SICAD instead of CADIVI; regular devaluate by increasing the CADIVI exchange rate (and SICAD with it), increasing gas prices and other measures to take pressure off of the PDVSA and BCV accounts; while MUD will be objecting at every step.


  4. I dont know, Odebrecht whether it competes or not for deals in Venezuela, is a world class construction company which has been doing huge projects all over the world, like the Miami Airport, Ritz Carlton hotels in various parts of the world and the Seven Oaks dam, I do not think of it as a failed company like the note suggests.

    • True. But clearly they’re oversight or management of this particular operation is painfully poor. The guy is YELLING at the operator… a serious/well managed company would at least use walkie-talkies, or something!

      • My Carib ancestors would have used red and yellow shields 450 years ago to signal when to keep pulling or stop! These guys on the video must be Otomacos, from Sabaneta or somewhere like that.

        • The issue isn’t the crane. As commenters on the video point out, you can see the concrete give way and provoke everything else. The support foot of the crane is exerting huge stresses on a man-made concrete wall not made for such forces.

          • “you can see the concrete give way” I can’t see that in the video, but it is the most likely explanation. But the question is who was in charge of the works? The cranes owner company or Odebrecht or other company? Who prepared the support area? They are using multi-million dollar cranes and not using adequate communication, nor preparing or inspecting the support area.

            • I looked for the price of the cranes, well, these are pricey, but not that much, for a used one you have to have € 856.800 in Germany. Good luck trying to get the money from the assurance!

    • Chamo, Abelardo, you have blown my mind in so many levels with this link. BTW, nothing is scarier than the looks of a collapsing money demand ;(

      • Ciertamente, it boggles the mind the kind of strange dealings that become possible when there are economic distortions. Also the creativity that springs these inventive dealings, talk about your rational actor.
        I mean, I knew that money is a commodity that can be bought and sold like any other. What I didn’t know is that you can buy BsF with BsF at a 10% instant profit.

    • Ah, ahora entiendo – escuche de este juego de una amiga que fue recién a Cúcuta. Dijo que los compradores necesitan billetes para compara TV’s, neveras, etc., y ofrecen un “bono” por reales en efectivo

      • I’m late for this party, but anyway: This is also happening right here in Caracas. Bsf 330,000 by bank transfer will get you 300,000 in cash at the pawn shops in the Centro.

              • makes no sense. at the frontier they get a 10% premium, but they’ve already spent a 10% premium before taking a crazy long trip to the border. no, this only makes sense during times when the banks are out of cash. which happened briefly during the cadakazo, but even in 3 or 4 days was pretty well resolved. i just don’t understand it.

              • They need the dosh right there to give to people to go and fetch the TV sets.
                It’s really worth it for people who are just next to the border and can make a not so conspicuous travel to the closest Venezuelan shop. It’s harder if they need to go through banks and all that, I guess.

              • @Kepler: In Cúcuta that’s probably the case. Colombians are buying venezuelan cash to purchase stuff in Venezuela and then cross the border.

                But why would it be happening in Caracas?

                What are pawnshops doing with the cash? If they do, say 4 runs of VEF 300,000, they get more than VEF 1,000,000. That’s close to armored vehicle territory, isn’t it?

          • I don’t understand either! If they already have VEF 330,000 in their bank account, why don’t they just walk into a bank agency and withdraw the cash, or write a check, or use an ATM?
            Why pay a 10% premium for cash? What ARE they buying with that premium? (is it to avoid money laundering controls?)

  5. If I were the Chief Engineer, I will sit and meditate about the clusterfuck that just happened before yelling at everyone.

    How do you report this to your boss?

    Something like hey boss, I’m good, the weather is fine, the people in the area is nice, the coffee is Ok, not like Brazilian coffee though, those are the best grains of coffee in the world. Oh and two cranes collapsed at the bottom of the construction site, delaying the project for 5 months and is gonna cost millions for damage and compensation and a silly labor lawsuit against the company.

    Did I mention that I’m good. We may need to talk about my salary raise.

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