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VenEconomy: Using barrels to manipulate

 

 

The Honduras crisis has entered its third week and things are tending to get snarled up. Among other factors that have complicated matters seems to be the position adopted by Hugo Chávez; and one of the things that the Honduras crisis has brought out into the open is the Venezuelan Government’s blatant interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the Caribbean, Central America, and more than one on the American Continent.

Halfway through last week, it seemed that, with the intervention of the United States and the negotiations in the hands of Costa Rica’s president, Oscar Arias, it would be possible to reach a solution by peaceful means with an agreement between the parties. However, today, July 13, things have become more complicated, in part due to the interference of the Venezuelan President with his warmongering diatribe, which could be interpreted as a call to a coup d’état and violence in Honduras.

The question that raises itself is, what gives Hugo Chávez the right to intervene so directly and so openly in the domestic policy of that Central American nation?
The fast answer would be, “Chávez is like that!” He is impulsive, temperamental, and aggressive. That’s his personality. That’s how he has handled things at home over these past ten years with the permissiveness of and the impunity granted him by the branches of government -all in the palm of his hand-, including the armed forces and the police. He has applied that same intemperance to his foreign policy with the knowledge and complicity of the Organization of American States, the European Union, and the majority of the countries of the international community, and also thanks to the indifference of the US Government.

A more structured but intangible answer would be that this intromission is implicit in the expansionist agenda of the 21st Century Socialism being successfully implemented by Chávez and the Castro brothers in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua and somewhat less successfully in Mexico and Peru, and even in Colombia with the apparent support of the FARC. Subordinating the governments of the majority of these countries to Hugo Chávez’s leadership -achieved by dint of the handouts financed with petrodollars- plays a vital role in carrying out this agenda.

But another more obvious answer to Chávez’s extreme intervention in Honduras can be found in PetroCaribe, an initiative thought up, in theory, to provide countries with social benefits, but which, in practice, is being used to subjugate member countries to the “totalitarian socialism” of Chávez and the Castro brothers.

So, Chávez’s justification for assuming the right to intervene in Honduras so blatantly and without beating about the bush is the money of all Venezuelans, which has been drained away via PetroCaribe and other “social aid” programs.

This was made patently clear with the suspension of shipments of some 20,000 barrels a day of oil that Venezuela was sending to Honduras at a discount. Besides this type of blackmail being unacceptable for the people of any nation, there is the fact that Venezuela will now have to write off an uncollectible debt of $462 million, as it is highly unlikely that the Honduras Government will pay what it owes Venezuela, particularly after the suspension of the shipments and Chávez’s aggressive behavior.

After doing the sums, some analysts have said that, so far, PetroCaribe has been a drain on the resources of the Republic to the tune of more than $31 billion, money that should have been spent on health, education, security, and improving the standard of living of the Venezuelan population.




 

VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 07/13/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .

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Petroleumworld News 07/14/09

 

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