Latin America Bracing For Y2K Problems : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread



MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Fears of millennium bug problems in Latin America are not grim, but detailed information on Y2K preparedness in the region is scarce.

With testing on some large systems running behind schedule, no one knows whether to expect small power failures, days of telephone glitches, or worse.

Government agencies and businesses throughout Latin America say they are working hard to root out the bug, but there are no independent assessments of whether they are on schedule in testing, repairing and replacing computer systems.

And the big power companies, petroleum producers and telephone operators are tight-lipped about testing details.


Many utilities in Latin America are only now beginning to run integrated, system-wide tests on large computer systems, a time-consuming process that experts say should have been started sooner if the companies are going to complete repairs and replacements in time for the New Year.

Rodrigo Moraga, the South American coordinator for the United Nations-linked International Y2K Cooperation Group, acknowledged that it was too late for many, including power companies and air traffic controllers, to run full tests and said they would have to concentrate on contingency plans.

He said the region anticipated problems, and that the focus now was on planning a swift response to system failures.

``At this late date you need to get the most critical stuff up and going. You can't do big projects. You need to replace the critical, the most essential points of your system and go immediately to contingency plans,'' Moraga said.

On the other hand, Carlos Jarque, the Central America and Mexico regional coordinator, said Mexican energy, telephone and water systems are on schedule to complete testing this month.


The official word in the region is ``we're working on it.''

Many companies, such as Mexico's petroleum producer Pemex, have Web sites that include large sections on Y2K preparedness. but they do little more than advise that the company is aware of the problem.

Analysts looking at the issue are frustrated with the lack of information in Latin America.

``It's very difficult to get acceptable assessments,'' and ''data becomes increasingly speculative outside of (Europe, Canada and Australia),'' said experts in a report on international preparedness for a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Year 2000.

The same report indicates that the largest economies in Latin America are behind schedule on preparedness -- with Argentina 21 percent behind, Brazil 22 percent and Mexico 24 percent...


Venezuela has been singled out as one of the least prepared countries in the region, perhaps because officials there are being very frank about the huge difficulties facing them.

Gustavo Mendez, the head of Venezuela's Central Office of Statistics and Information, the government body heading the Year 2000 conversion project, said Venezuela was one of the worst-prepared countries in the world.

Presidential Chief of Staff Alfredo Pena said Venezuela was seriously behind and needed $1.5 billion for nationwide preparations. He said the electricity sector was the most vulnerable.

Earlier this month an industry executive said Venezuela's electrical network had spent only half the roughly $100 million needed to make conversions, and that ``the majority of companies in general are still completing the diagnostic stage,'' which would put them way behind in the time-costly testing stage.

But Venezuela's oil industry, the third biggest exporter in the world, said it is on track to complete preparations by the end of this month, according to the state oil company petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), having spent $400 million so far...

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Gotta love it. Venezuela's oil industry is "on track". They'll be ready in 2 weeks!! Anyone care to wager they won't be ready?

-- regular (zzz@z.z), June 15, 1999


We can just have Paul Davis's "RESCUE SQUAD" (Within a week, the US team, the German team, the Japanese team, the Swiss team - etc, etc. would be on the site) to these poor countries to asssist. Or better yet, according to chicken little(chuckie P) and the dubunkie crowd, we don't really need these countries to survive but I bet they could all go to manual? LOL

-- y2k dave (, June 15, 1999.

News from "across the border"

It was an oil fire and they could not reach Red Adair in Texas (computers ?). So they hired Roho Rodriguiz to go in and put it out. He came and drove his truck full of workers right into the blaze. They jumped out and put it out with wet sacks. When they gave Roho his $50,000. fee he was asked what he would use the money for. He commented that the first thing he was going to do was fix the damned brakes on the truck.

-- rb (, June 15, 1999.

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