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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Venezuela's Oil

The NY Times has an article about PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company. Reading the article, you'll learn that Venezuela is pumping huge amounts of crude oil, except it isn't. You'll learn that the Chavez government is unwilling to negotiate with foreign oil interests, except they are. You'll learn that oil production is suffering because of the firing of the oil executives who caused oil production to suffer, even though their replacements are capable. All of these contradictions are within the article itself, not based on something I've learned elsewhere about Venezuela's oil industry.

Nevertheless, it seems to be the best article about Venezuela I've seen in an American paper since I was in Venezuela in April. It even commits the heresy of suggesting that Chavez might win the recall referendum on August 15. Of course, the anti-Chavez bias still slips through:
Mr. Chávez's public pronouncements have done little to assuage industry concerns. He has railed against the Bush administration, accusing it of coveting Venezuela's resources, and in March he even threatened to withhold oil if the Bush administration tried an invasion.
The gall of that man, suggesting that he might not sell oil to the country that's invading his! And the Times apparently considers an embargo to be a threat, while an invasion is just part of the natural order. And what could possibly be more important than assuaging industry concerns?