First, the new:
Straight from AlJazeera, Economic war on the U.S.? Iran, Venezuela join forces
Iran and Venezuela joined forces to undermine the U.S. dollar
Last year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his country’s plans to move its foreign-exchange holdings out of the dollar into the euro, calling for the creation of a South American central bank designed to hold in euros all the foreign-exchange holdings of the participating countries.
On the other hand, Iran started since 2003 demanding oil payment in euros, not dollars, although the oil itself was still priced in dollars. The Islamic Republic has already announced plans of opening the Iranian Oil Bourse in March, challenging by that the NYMEX (the New York Mercantile Exchange) and IPE (London’s International Petroleum Exchange).
And now the old: As I have pointed out before, The Islamic regime [of Iran] assists Venezuela with its nuclear program (via Atlas Shrugs, who posts this morning on Iran’s Nukes Get Religious Clearance). Chávez claims he’s developing alternative energy sources to ready his country for the post-petroleum era (article in Spanish).
Continuing his usual diplomatic approach, Hugo Chavez last weekend accused former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar of forming part of a supposed plan directed by the United States in order to destabilize Venezuela, and referring to US Secreatry of State Condoleezza Rice as “girl”, warned her “don’t mess with me”. His speech was peppered with derogatory racist and sexist terms, which I won’t repeat here.
Don’t miss the latest on Hugo’s arms race.
The Economist, while trying to put a favorable light on Hugo, admits that (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s public infrastructure, such as roads and hospitals, is crumbling. A deficit of 1.5m housing units is widening. Only a quarter of the 110,000 new houses needed each year are being built, because of the public sector’s incompetence and its unwillingness to involve the private sector.
Mr Chávez argues that capitalism is the source of all evil: poverty, inequality and corruption are all laid at the door of “savage neoliberalism”. But his seemingly rich and strong state is a hollow shell, says Mr Barrios. In Mr Chávez’s Venezuela, institutions count for little, and all important decisions are taken by one man.
With the help of some Cuban and Iranian friends.
Update: Don’t miss Alexandra’s post on A Recurrent Nightmare To Civilization
Update 2: Paxety has a post on the weekend meeting between Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the Speaker of the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) and Fidel. Update, Tuesday Feb 21 More commentary.