PW Español




PW Live



Very usefull links



PW
Bookstore





Institutional
links


OPEC







PW
Business Partners

 


IRAQ OIL THE FORUM

 


Blogspots

The Global Barrel

Tiempo Cultural

Gustavo Coronel

Iran Watch.org

Le Blog des
Energies Nouvelles

News Links

AP

AFP

Aljazeera

Dow Jones

Reuters


Bloomberg

Views and News
from Norway

 

 

 


Editorial/Opinion

 

 

 

Jackson Diehl: Obama is
overlooking deep trouble in Venezuela

 

 

An enduring characteristic of Barack Obama's presidency has been his determination to implement the ideological agenda with which he arrived in office without regard for conditions in the real world. He imposed timetables for “ending the wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq unlinked to military progress. He insisted on pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even though the leaders of both sides were manifestly unwilling. He began his second term by seeking a new nuclear arms deal with Vladi­mir Putin, despite abundant evidence that Putin was preparing for confrontation with the West.

Now, six years into his presidency, Obama has launched, as his first significant initiative in Latin America, detente with Cuba. It's a torch that many liberals have carried for decades. Once again, however, the president has acted with willful disregard for current events.

 

In particular, two salient facts were ignored. The first is that the regime of Raúl Castro was desperate for an economic opening to the United States — meaning that concessions offered gratis by Obama could have been used to leverage meaningful political concessions by the regime. A simple one could have been an end to the arrests and beatings of peaceful dissidents, such as those that occurred last week .

Second, Obama ignored the slowly mushrooming crisis that triggered Castro's distress and that ought to be the focus of U.S. energies in Latin America. That is the slow but potentially catastrophic collapse of Venezuela, a major U.S. oil supplier with three times Cuba's population that, as 2015 begins, is well on its way to becoming a failed state.

Venezuela has been a virtual Cuban colony in recent years, which is one big reason for the fix it is in. After sheltering caudillo Hugo Chávez during his slow demise from cancer, Havana helped to install as his successor Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver of astonishingly small talents. Since Chávez's death 22 months ago , Maduro has faithfully continued the 100,000-barrel-a-day oil subsidy that keeps Cuba's moribund economy from crumbling.

Meanwhile, Maduro has overseen the degeneration of his country's economic, political and social situation from abysmal to truly disastrous. Economic production declined by 5 percent in the first half of this year, inflation rose past 60 percent and an estimated one-third of consumer goods were in shortage — and that was before the 50 percent drop in the price of Venezuela's oil, which provides 95 percent of the hard currency for a country that imports most of its food and medicine.

By many measures, Venezuela is already a failed state. According to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a record 25,000 people were murdered in the country in 2014, the second-worse homicide rate in the world after Honduras. The U.S. government estimates that half of the cocaine produced in South America now moves through Venezuela — 300 tons a year — with the help of top leaders of the military and police. There have been deadly clashes between official security forces and the armed civilian “collectives” organized by the regime. And Wall Street has begun anticipating a Venezuelan default .

As oil revenue has plummeted in the past few months, Maduro has refused to address even the most extreme economic distortions — such as a black-market exchange rate for the dollar 350 percent higher than the highest of three official ones, or gasoline that sells for pennies a gallon. Instead he has delivered endless speeches denouncing the “economic war” he claims is being waged against Venezuela by the United States, and he has imprisoned top opposition leaders such as Leopoldo López, a U.S.-educated moderate leftist. “My country,” López wrote in a letter published by the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 25, “is on the verge of social and economic collapse.”

Oddly, the only discernible policy the Obama administration has toward this unfolding implosion is the one it just repudiated for Cuba: sanctions. The day after announcing the normalization with Havana, Obama signed legislation mandating visa bans and asset freezes for senior Venezuelan officials linked to violations of human rights, including the killing of dozens of street demonstrators last year.

Venezuela's opposition supports those sanctions . But its leaders have also been saying that the country desperately needs outside diplomatic intervention. A halfhearted effort by the Unasur regional group petered out months ago. Now the region's big governments, like the White House, focus on the political rehabilitation of Cuba while ignoring the situation in Caracas.

That's particularly wrongheaded because there is a clear role for foreign mediators to play in brokering a deal between the government and moderate opposition that could allow for a political truce, the release of prisoners and emergency measures to stabilize the economy. “To remain silent,” wrote López, “is to be complicit in a disaster that doesn't just impact Venezuela but could have implications across the hemisphere.” Too bad his country wasn't on Obama's preconceived agenda.


 
Jackson Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post. He is an editorial writer specializing in foreign affairs and writes a biweekly column that appears on Mondays. . Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by The Washington Post, on 01/04/2015. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.

All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld. All comments expressed are private comments and do not necessary reflect the view of this website. All comments are posted and published without liability to Petroleumworld.

Use Notice:This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by theoriginator.

Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Copyright© 1999-2009 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments,
share your thoughts on this article, your feed. back is important to us!

Petroleumworld News 01/06/2014

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Follow us in : twitter / Facebook
Send this story to a friend Write to editor@petroleumworld.comBy using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to: editor@petroleumworld.com

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels


 

 


Pan American Mature
Fields Congress,
Jan 20 - 22, 2015



Mexico Gas Congress
February 24-26, 2015

 




ow.ly/ziUh0

TOP

Editor & Publisher:Elio Ohep F./Contact Email: editor@petroleumworld.com

Contact:
editor@petroleumworld.com/ phone: Office (58 212) 635 7252,
or Cel (58 412) 996 3730 / (58 414) 276 3041 / (58  412) 952 5301


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F.- All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

- CCS Office Tele
phone/Teléfonos Oficina: (58 212) 635 7252

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites


Technorati Profile


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, posted online, rewritten or redistributed by any type of means, except with permission of the author/s

The information in this web site is proprietary and is protected under United States and International Copyright and Trademark laws. No part of this web site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means whatsoever, except with permission of the author/s..

Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Any use of this site or its material, in any form, without the express prior written consent of the author, is prohibited by law and is subject to legal action. Legal Information

Top 100+

Technorati Profile
Fair use notice of copyrighted material:

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from Petroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.