Today's New York Times article entitled "High Stakes: Chávez Plays the Oil Card" is yet another example of how out of touch the New York Times is with what is happening in Latin America. The article not only misrepresents the policies of Hugo Chavez but even refuses to accept the mere possibility that what Chavez is doing is exactly what every Latin American country should be doing, taking care of their people first.
First and foremost is the depiction of Chavez as "erratic" in his policy making. If anything he is consistent to the letter. As he promised to nationalize the resources of Venezuela, he has done. As he promised to turn the revenue into domestic social programs, he has done. And as he promised to reach out diplomatically to other nations whom have been forgotten by Europe and the United States, he has done so as well. If there is a truism to be said of Chavez is that his policies have remained in focus with his promises.
Second, the article's doom and gloom predictions are exploitative and misleading. Nationalization of Venezuela's resources does not mean that foreign corporations will be forced to leave the country, it simply means that the government will take a cut of the revenue. This is not by any means threatening to those corporations it merely means that next time that Exxon reports 10.7 billion dollar profit in a single quarter, Venezuela will take its cut first. The stupidity here is in not asking why the United States hasn't done the same thing. Venezuela sits on what could be the richest deposit of oil anywhere in the world, if American companies are not willing to share those riches with the people of Venezuela, you can bet Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian companies will.
Third, The price of oil will continue to climb, there might be slight dips in the price periodically but every expert in the field will agree that oil prices will never go back down to the levels of the 1970s or even the 1990's. Oil prices will climb as sure as the sun will shine tomorrow. That means that who ever controls the flow today, will only reap greater profits tomorrow.
Also the article points to the sale of two refineries in Texas and Louisiana as proof of an intention to cut off the oil supply to the United States. Bit of a leap there perhaps? Chavez is currently building at least two other refineries in the Caribbean and another in Nicaragua, as well as in Venezuela itself. Could it be that instead these are cost cutting measures to save money using labor cheaper than that found in the United States? Maybe, maybe not. But there are definitely no plans by Chavez to cutoff his cash cow, the U.S. See this is a transfer of wealth from the Richest nation to a poor one. There is no plan to cut off the oil, just a plan to maximize the wealth transfer.
Finally, as I stated before, this is what every Latin American nation should do, and what those with the proper leadership are already doing. Nationalizing their resources for the benefit of their peoples. The fact that the United States government has a history of disregarding the wishes of the Latin American people, and becomes belligerent at the sight of its slave nations rebelling against its authority doesn't make it what Latin America, and specifically Venezuela, are doing, wrong or erratic. If anything, it smells of righteousness.
by Michael Deliz