Lucy is to Charlie Brown ...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

... as Hugo Chavez is to Any Oil Executive.

As I mentioned a few days ago, it's crunch time on my paper, hence the short, pre-scheduled post....

This news article from The International Herald-Tribune is a two-pager, but well worth the time, for it gives a valuable glimpse at what Hugo Chavez has done to the Venezuelan economy, as well as how involved Western oil companies are in enabling him to pretend that socialism is a viable (or even powerful) economic system. (That said, it fails to explicitly link Venezuela's decline in oil production to its actual cause: government mismanagement.)

President Hugo Chavez, buffeted by falling oil prices that threaten to damage his efforts to establish a Socialist-inspired state, is quietly courting Western oil companies once again.

Until recently, Chavez had pushed foreign oil companies here into a corner by nationalizing their oil fields, raiding their offices with tax authorities and imposing a series of royalties increases.

But faced with the plunge in prices and a decline in domestic production, senior officials here have begun soliciting bids from some of the largest Western oil companies in recent weeks -- including Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France -- promising them access to some of the world's largest petroleum reserves, according to energy executives and industry consultants here.

Their willingness to even consider investing in Venezuela reflects the scarcity of projects open to foreign companies in other top oil nations, particularly in the Middle East. [minor edits, bold added]
"Their willingness" also reflects about equal doses of pragmatism and resignation to the unforgivable fact that our government, in failing to take a moral stand against theft by foreign governments, thus encourages nationalization. Why not organize an industry-wide boycott of Venezuela, so that even greater profits can be had after Chavez fell?

But that would require long-range thinking, a commodity that is in scarce supply these days. I doubt that anyone involved in this really thinks Chavez plans to actually hold the football for them as they kick. He'll gobble up as much of whatever they have that he thinks he can get away with just as surely as Lucy will yank that ball before Charlie Brown attempts to kick it.

On the second page, we learn that Halliburton is helping Chavez along even more than in the past. This is not surprising, but it is the first I've heard of it. Apparently, leftists neither care that Halliburton is propping up a dictator like Chavez -- nor are they having a post-Iraq change in heart now that it is helping a "hero" like Chavez carry on. But then, leftists don't spend a lot of time discussing useful idiots.

There was one part that almost made me laugh, regarding Chavez's temporary admission that socialism does not and can not work:
"If re-engaging with foreign oil companies is necessary to his political survival, then Chávez will do it," said Roger Tissot, an authority on Venezuela's oil industry at Gas Energy, a Brazilian consulting company focusing on Latin America. "He is a military man who understands losing a battle to win the war." [bold added]
Yeah. He's making a tactical retreat in the war against reality that is socialism!

-- CAV

This post was composed in advance and scheduled for publication at 5:00 A.M. on January 15, 2009.

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