What do you mean “seen”, kimo sabe?

The WSJournal has the understatement of the week,
Venezuela Seen Getting Off ‘Lightly’ In $908 Million Exxon Payment

An international arbitration panel awarded U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. about $908 million in a verdict over oil assets nationalized by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2007, the company said late Saturday.

The payout is substantially lower than the $7 billion that Exxon was seeking in restitution and is likely to be a boon for Venezuela’s defiant leftist government, which in recent years has embarked on a widespread nationalization campaign to centralize control over key economic sectors.

“It’s a nice Christmas present for Chavez and Venezuela,” said Russ Dallen, an analyst and bond trader at local investment bank Caracas Capital Markets.

Sure is – it’s less than 13 cents on the dollar. Exxon gets robbed.

If you have any illusions that the Chávez regime will put any of this to good use, check out Venezuela News and Views (my translation)

¿Sera que no alegraremos que Venezuela vaya a pagar menos por las fechorías de Hugo? ¡Para nada! Eso es mas plata que ellos se van a poder robar, o repartir para comprar votos (después de cobrar la comisión adecuada por comprar y repartir linea blanca).

Will we be rejoicing that Venezuela will pay less for Hugo’s villainies? No way! That’s just more money they’ll steal, or spread around to buy votes (after collecting the sufficient commission to buy and share a white line).

Makes you wonder what was in it for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitrators, doesn’t it?

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean will be up later today.

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