But after having read this story, I feel more sorry for the people of Venezuela than I do happy to see yet another indication that the regime of Hugo Chavez is failing to provide basic services:

Despite having some of the world’s largest energy reserves, Venezuela is increasingly struggling to maintain basic electrical service, a growing challenge for leftist President Hugo Chavez.

The OPEC nation has suffered three nationwide blackouts this year, and chronic power shortages have sparked protests from the western Andean highlands to San Felix, a city of mostly poor industrial workers in the sweltering south.

Shoddy electrical service is now one of Venezuelans’ top concerns, according to a recent poll, and may be a factor in elections next month for governors and mayors in which Chavez allies are expected to lose key posts, in part on complaints of poor services.

The problem suggests that Chavez, with his ambitious international alliances and promises to end capitalism, risks alienating supporters by failing to focus on basic issues like electricity, trash collection and law enforcement.

“With so much energy in Venezuela, how can we be without power?” asked Fernando Aponte, 49, whose slum neighborhood of Las Delicias in San Felix spent 15 days without electricity — leading him to block a nearby avenue with burning tires in protest.

After the passage of the recent financial bailout package, Chavez rejoiced in his belief that the American capitalist system was failing. Maybe he should concentrate his energies on running his own country in a competent fashion.

That is, if he has the wit to do the job. Thus far, there is no indication whatsoever that he does.