Monday, February 11, 2008

Corruptors of Governments

The other day I mentioned in passing the law suit that temporarily bars Venezuela from control over its own oil supplies -- the order passed down freezes 12 billion dollars in assets.

I've been avoiding Venezuela. I'm not sure I can do it any more justice today. As if to underscore that fact I clicked on a link to "current local time in Caracas;" It's 6:29 am there -- which is exactly a half an hour off of the time here. Good Grief.

I was told last year that Venezuela was the biggest story not being looked at in oil world-wide. Venezuela, one of the largest oil suppliers in the world, I was told, is letting their fields languish in pursuit of it's socialist ideals... putting money into social programs and such at the expense of the oil fields. "Isn't that a good thing?" I said at the time; feeling silly even as the words came out.

The latest law suit with Exxon has to do with Chavez attempting to exert control over their own oil reserves -- asking Exxon and others to abandon billions of dollars of investment.

The problem with this story is that I don't trust the reporting. That is my least favorite situation to be in. For the most part I spend a lot of time trying to convince people that the American press is an amazing institution -- but occasionally I do feel like I'm reading non-thinking pop-language soundbites at best -- government propaganda at worst.

Venezuela’s government has been seething since Exxon recently won orders in British, Dutch and American courts freezing as much as $12 billion in Venezuelan oil assets abroad — refineries and other oil-related infrastructure that Venezuela owns. Venezuela vowed to overturn the decisions before arbitration over Exxon’s attempts to win compensation for its nationalized oil project.
By Simon Romero, NYT

Seething? Vowed? It has seemed clear over the past few months in trying to delve into this story that Chavez is turning into a cartoon.

"I'LL GET YOU MY PRETTY, AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO!"
I watched the Wizard of Oz this weekend with 6 kids between the ages of 5-7.

Chavez, for his part, is certainly an easy target -- the propaganda he spews aids the image...

“I speak to the American empire, because that’s the master,” Mr. Ch├ívez said. “Continue, and you will see that we won’t send one drop of oil to the empire of the United States.” Referring to Exxon, he said, “They are imperialist bandits, white-collar criminals, corruptors of governments, overthrowers of governments.”

The issue is language again, and how do we trust people who are so clearly trying to tell us what to think... so clearly communicating with words intended to elicit feeling, not thinking...

The problem inside Venezuela is that there is still an extreme food crisis.

The problem outside Venezuela is that world oil prices being effected.

I guess one question is whether or not socialism can exist at all in this globalized world -- and how on earth that works in a country so enmeshed in the oil market.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chavez is a fascist, not a socialist.

He's what half of America would be without the threat of legal action--an unchecked greed machine.

Threatening to cut supply in the face of growing global demand. What an a-hole.

Thankfully, he'll be off the front page in my lifetime.

What's so great about socialism, anyway? Want to know it's end game? Watch The Matrix.