DISASTER AND UNCERTAINTIES IN THE CONTEXT OF VENEZUELA'S OIL CRISIS: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE EXPLOSION AT THE AMUAY OIL REFINERY

Abstract : On August 25, 2012, the Amuay oil refinery in northwestern Venezuela suffered an explosion. This unprecedented accident in the national oil industry killed 48 people and injured 156. In this study, we have adopted a political anthropology approach, in which natural and industrial disaster issues are posited as part and parcel of a nation's history. Our purpose is to examine the relation between the oil industry, the changes that took place within the state during the Venezuelan " Bolivarian revolution , " (1) collective attitudes towards disaster anticipation, and social representations of uncertainties and insecurity. Our study of the Amuay explosion and blaze is part of an analytical reconstruction of the oil policies of the Chavez (1999-2013) and succeeding Maduro administra-TEPSIS PAPER 06 / APRIL 2015 Laboratory of Excellence TEPSIS, 96 Bd Raspail 75006 Paris, http://tepsis.hypotheses.org 2 tions. After the new majority won the parliamentary elections of December 6, 2015, it set about closely examining the financial statements and condition of facilities of the state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). The new representatives questioned the veracity of the company's financial statements and reports. The country's economy came under serious threat and lapsed into crisis, and the growth model championed by the late President Hugo Chavez (1954-2013) collapsed. Granted, the crisis in that model, which relied heavily on oil revenue, was aggravated by the 2014 drop in the price of the barrel, but a revision of economic data shows that the end of the last oil boom (2006-2014) is not the main culprit. The citizens of Venezuela are confronted with highly unusual situations in their daily lives. During our fieldwork in Caracas, Coro and Punto Fijo (about 600 kilometers west of Caracas) in the summer of 2015, we noted the harsh effects of an inflation rate nearing 120 percent and causing increased shortages of basic foodstuffs and medicine. And the economic outlook for 2016 is no less grim.
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TEPSIS PAPER 11 - Paula Vasquez Lezama - version anglophone. 2016
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Paula Vásquez Lezama. DISASTER AND UNCERTAINTIES IN THE CONTEXT OF VENEZUELA'S OIL CRISIS: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE EXPLOSION AT THE AMUAY OIL REFINERY. TEPSIS PAPER 11 - Paula Vasquez Lezama - version anglophone. 2016. 〈hal-01297586〉

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