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U.S. gains, Cuba loses
Posted By Toby Westerman On 04/14/2002 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
The end of the regime of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will bring an increased and more dependable supply of petroleum to the United States, according to international sources.
It also represents the latest failure of an attempted socialist/Marxist government in Latin America.
Venezuela is the world’s fourth largest oil supplier, and could substantially reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
“The object of the new responsible parties” in Venezuela is to “become the prime source” of oil for the United States, according to a recent report in the internationally respected news daily, Le Figaro.
In contrast to policies under Chavez, the United States will find a friend instead of an opponent in the oil-rich Latin American nation.
“We must increase our share of the U.S. market,” declared Juan Carlos Sosa, an oil consultant located in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. “After the fall of [former President Hugo] Chavez, we will be in a good position to arrive [at this goal].”
The fall of Chavez will also impact directly upon world oil prices. “The precipitous departure of Chavez reinforces the lack of discipline … in OPEC,” said Nordine Ait-Laoussine, former energy minister of Algeria, according to Le Figaro. Ait-Laoussine is currently president of the Geneva-based energy consulting firm Nalcosa.
During the years of his presidency, Chavez was an enthusiastic advocate of a firmly united OPEC oil pricing policy, capable of maintaining stable, high prices for producing states.
While the end of the Chavez regime — his successors claim he resigned, his supporters say he was overthrown — is good news for U.S. oil supplies, it is a major blow to the communist government of Fidel Castro.
The new government of business leader Pedro Carmona will end the close relationship with Cuba, and is expected to terminate the oil-exchange agreement Chavez concluded with Castro.
At stake is 160,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba in exchange for Cuban medical personnel and sports expertise.
Venezuela also assisted Cuba in developing its own petroleum industry.
Castro and Chavez had developed a close friendship since Chavez’s first election to the Venezuelan presidency in 1998. Chavez often praised Castro, and Radio Havana Cuba, the official broadcasting service of the Cuban government, recently deemed the Venezuelan constitution which Chavez instituted as “the most progressive in the world.”
In addition to praising the unabashedly Marxist Castro, Chavez also indirectly aided the ELN, a communist guerrilla group operating in Colombia, Venezuela’s neighbor to the west.
Another, larger Marxist revolutionary group, the FARC, operates in areas not under attack by the ELN.
Chavez’s policy of welcoming ELN representatives to Caracas, purportedly for good will mediation of the conflict, has “infuriated” Colombian president Andres Pastrana, according to the Italian news daily Corriere della Sera.
The pro-Communist position of the Chavez government drew hostility from elements of the Venezuelan military.
Carlos Molina Tamayo, vice admiral of the Venezuelan navy, recently condemned Chavez for abandoning Venezuela’s “traditional friends” and seeking links with Cuba and “other communist countries,” according to a recent Corriere della Sera report.
Venezuela will also regain its former name: the Republic of Venezuela.
Chavez is an admirer of the 19th century Latin American revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar, who sought to unite the continent into a single central government.
Both Chavez and Castro have advocated the union of Latin America into a single union — dominated by Marxist theory — which would stand in opposition to its wealthy neighbor to the north, the United States.
As an early step to the fulfillment of the goal, Chavez changed the name of his country to the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” from the original “Republic of Venezuela.”
Among Carmona’s first acts was to return the nation to its former name, Corriere della Sera stated.
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