Chávez says oil production’s not down by 800,000 barrels per day
Here‘s the article (emphasis mine):
Caracas daily El Nacional on Sunday quoted a study for the legislature’s energy committee, which concluded that production was off by 800,000 bpd.
“During the first quarter of the year, PDVSA produced 2.641 billion barrels,” Chavez said, “608,000 were produced by strategic partners, multinationals that have taken those 608,000 and sold them in the United States, and the dollars of those sales do not return to the nation.”
Especially those dollars spent on commissions and rampant corruption — remember the missing $2.9 billions?. By now even Chávez’s spiritual advisor (don’t you just love that job title?) has come to realize that La Corrupción puede acabar con Chávez (Corruption can finish off Chávez) but I digress. The issue here is that Venezuelan oil production is in sharp decline.
Allow me to emphasize that the numbers come from Venezuela’s own legislature’s energy committee. It’s not me making up the figures.
Gustavo Coronel examines the main sources of Venezuelan political power: oil money, the Armed Forces and all State institutions in the context of PDVSA. Widespread corruption and the collapse of PDVSA: The two main diseases undermining the Chávez revolution (emphasis mine):
Although the high prices of oil in the world markets have done much to counter this decline, the fact is that PDVSA is no longer a reliable company and that much of Venezuelan production, almost half, is now generated by international contractors, due to the loss of management and technical capabilities in the company.
While neglecting the management, upkeep and maintenance of Venezuelan refineries, Chávez is looking forward to reopening of the oil refinery and terminal in Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s southern coast, a facility built with Soviet technology in 1990 but which long since come to a halt due to its high energy consumption.
I have said it before, and repeat it: Venezuela’s not just another obscure country you don’t need to think about.
Venezuela is the fourth-largest exporter of oil to the US. It supplies close to 15% of America’s oil annually. Chávez has plans to change that: Alexandre Adler writes in French daily Le Figaro (translation by W. K.),
La tentation de Chavez de déclencher un conflit armé avec la Colombie voisine afin de reprendre en main l’armée et d’écraser totalement la société civile s’inscrirait parfaitement dans ce projet. C’est ici malheureusement qu’intervient le facteur chinois : tout comme l’Union soviétique de naguère qui concevait son implantation à Cuba comme la réponse adéquate à l’existence de Berlin-Ouest au coeur de son empire, la Chine de demain, en proie manifeste à une fièvre autarcique qui pourrait s’aggraver brutalement avec l’épuisement que l’on peut déjà entrevoir d’un modèle de croissance fondé sur les seules exportations, pourrait décider que Chavez et son Venezuela militarisé seraient la bonne réponse à la stratégie américano-japonaise de renforcement de Taïwan.
Déjà Chavez envisage de ne plus vendre de pétrole aux Etats-Unis et de gager toutes ses exportations sur le marché chinois, et la Chine vient d’aider Castro à réévaluer sa monnaie nationale. A un moment donné, ces tensions parties d’horizon et de calculs très différents peuvent se conjoindre. C’est ce qu’on appelle une catastrophe… au sens mathématique du terme, bien entendu.
The temptation of Chávez to unleash an armed conflict with neighboring Colombia so as to regain control of the army and totally crush civil society is perfectly inscribed in this project. Unfortunately this is where the Chinese factor intervenes: Exactly as the Soviet Union not long ago devised its implantation in Cuba as an appropriate response to the existence of West Berlin in the heart of its empire, the China of tomorrow, manifestly fallen prey to an autarchic fever which could grow brutally worse with the exhaustion that one can already foresee coming from a model of development founded on exports alone, could decide whether Chávez and his militarized Venezuela might be the right answer to the Japanese-American strategy of fortifying Taiwan.
Already Chávez envisions not selling any petroleum to the United States and wagering all his exports on the Chinese market, and China has just recently helped Castro to revalue his national currency. At any given moment, these tensions originating from very different horizons and calculations could converge. That is what we call a catastrophe…in the mathematical sense of the term, of course.
Of course, he’ll blame the USA, no matter what (my translation)
El presidente Hugo Chávez acusó el sábado a Estados Unidos de tratar de desestabilizar a su gobierno y de alentar las disputas entre los militares venezolanos, e instó a sus simpatizantes para que respondan mostrando unidad.
. . .
Chávez instó a sus simpatizantes para que “no se pongan a pelear” entre ellos mismos, pues eso sería precisamente lo que quiere el gobierno estadounidense.
Last Saturday President Hugo Chávez accused the USA of trying to destabilize his government and inciting disputes among the Venezuelan military, and urged his supporters to respond with solidarity.
. . .
Chávez urged his supporters to “not start quarreling” among themselves, since that’d be exactly what the American government wants.
As you can see, Le Figaro’s starting to question the legitimacy of the Chavez government. The USA should, too. The US should stay out, however, of whatever internal machinations are taking place in Venezuela.
The USA should also push ahead an energy policy that would make our country totally self-reliant. That, and winning the war, are the two main priorities.