23 January 2006
We arrive in Caracas tomorrow afternoon. The bridge that connects the airport to the city is crumbling and closed, but we've been reassured that there are WSF shuttle busses. A friend tells me Caracas is so short of beds for the tourists, that the government placed ads in the opposition newspapers saying people should offer their spare rooms for $15 a night. But response has been low, and my friend says the majority of what is available is with the government's own people.

I hope our own housing plans work out, because this correspondent has never felt very comfortable about tents. A friendly Venezuelan from the solidarity housing webpage of the WSF has agreed to collect us at the bus stop of the youth camp. We won't be staying at his house, but he's helped us broker a hotel. Some people were wise enough to book ten hotel rooms in advance of an event that is expected to attract 100,000 foreigners.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData