Hugo Chavez and Big Oil

Oil companies aren't all that transparent. They also aren't all that alike. Oil insiders will tell you of rivalries between them that never make the news. Each company has its own personality. Some of these pillars what leftists call the Big Oil monolith relish wild risk taking, like ConocoPhillips, some are go—along good boys like ChevronTexaco, and some are icy by—the—books individualists like ExxonMobil.  Royal Dutch Shell, Total, YPF—Repsol and BP each have personalities of their own, too.

These differences probably have some effects on what they lobby for in U.S. Congress. Exxon made headlines worldwide by defying Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez who insisted on breaking their operating contract and forcing them into a Chavez—majority 'joint venture.' Exxon wasn't up for that, and opted instead to sell its precious acreage stake in a principled stand, instead of letting Chavez turn their operations into a worker's collective led by Chavista political hacks. "Exxon cares about every barrel of oil it produces," one analyst told a news agency awhile back.

But unfortunately, that doesn't stop its rivals from doing things their way. Alek Boyd has found something interesting about this — a recent piece by Stratfor's George Friedman — declaring that Venezuela didn't matter to the U.S. so long as it kept the oil pumping. Alek has found that appparently, Friedman has clients like Chevron and Conoco, both of which adhere to this line and who were also seen passing Friedman's analysis around in the halls of Congress. The idea was to damp any interest in Venezuela in the U.S.

Unlike most Stratfor pieces, this one was open to public viewing, probably signalling a propaganda rather than an information purpose.

It may be natural for an oil company to only wish that affairs of Venezuela be noted for its oil, but the fact is, Friedman's — and these oil companies' — views are extremely flawed.  Venezuela matters to the U.S. for a lot more than just oil. It's inevitable that Hugo Chavez will eventually cut off oil to us and we will get new suppliers, probably from our friends — yes, friends — the Saudis, who have bailed us out in the past when Hugo went haywire and oil was cut off during the strike of 2002—2003. But that won't mean Venezuela will turn irrelevant.

Can America afford to be surrounded by hostile Marxist regimes that have destroyed democracy? Can the U.S. stand idle when its democracy—building efforts including its funding of Venezuelan NGOs like Sumate, risk long prison sentences for trying to ensure free and fair elections? Can the U.S. afford to be indifferent to a monstrous military buildup in Venezuela that threatens all its neighbors and the U.S.? Not to mention the growing likelihood that Chavez is seeking nuclear weapons? Can we stand to be surrounded by the hemispheric shantytown of poverty, economic ruin, worthless education and all the other byproducts of Marxism? Just look at Venezuela's geography, capable of influencing every country in the hemisphere, particularly the Caribbean, Central America, the Andean states and Brazil.

Venezuela matters for a lot more to the U.S. than just its oil.

A.M. Mora y Leon 03 02 06

Oil companies aren't all that transparent. They also aren't all that alike. Oil insiders will tell you of rivalries between them that never make the news. Each company has its own personality. Some of these pillars what leftists call the Big Oil monolith relish wild risk taking, like ConocoPhillips, some are go—along good boys like ChevronTexaco, and some are icy by—the—books individualists like ExxonMobil.  Royal Dutch Shell, Total, YPF—Repsol and BP each have personalities of their own, too.

These differences probably have some effects on what they lobby for in U.S. Congress. Exxon made headlines worldwide by defying Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez who insisted on breaking their operating contract and forcing them into a Chavez—majority 'joint venture.' Exxon wasn't up for that, and opted instead to sell its precious acreage stake in a principled stand, instead of letting Chavez turn their operations into a worker's collective led by Chavista political hacks. "Exxon cares about every barrel of oil it produces," one analyst told a news agency awhile back.

But unfortunately, that doesn't stop its rivals from doing things their way. Alek Boyd has found something interesting about this — a recent piece by Stratfor's George Friedman — declaring that Venezuela didn't matter to the U.S. so long as it kept the oil pumping. Alek has found that appparently, Friedman has clients like Chevron and Conoco, both of which adhere to this line and who were also seen passing Friedman's analysis around in the halls of Congress. The idea was to damp any interest in Venezuela in the U.S.

Unlike most Stratfor pieces, this one was open to public viewing, probably signalling a propaganda rather than an information purpose.

It may be natural for an oil company to only wish that affairs of Venezuela be noted for its oil, but the fact is, Friedman's — and these oil companies' — views are extremely flawed.  Venezuela matters to the U.S. for a lot more than just oil. It's inevitable that Hugo Chavez will eventually cut off oil to us and we will get new suppliers, probably from our friends — yes, friends — the Saudis, who have bailed us out in the past when Hugo went haywire and oil was cut off during the strike of 2002—2003. But that won't mean Venezuela will turn irrelevant.

Can America afford to be surrounded by hostile Marxist regimes that have destroyed democracy? Can the U.S. stand idle when its democracy—building efforts including its funding of Venezuelan NGOs like Sumate, risk long prison sentences for trying to ensure free and fair elections? Can the U.S. afford to be indifferent to a monstrous military buildup in Venezuela that threatens all its neighbors and the U.S.? Not to mention the growing likelihood that Chavez is seeking nuclear weapons? Can we stand to be surrounded by the hemispheric shantytown of poverty, economic ruin, worthless education and all the other byproducts of Marxism? Just look at Venezuela's geography, capable of influencing every country in the hemisphere, particularly the Caribbean, Central America, the Andean states and Brazil.

Venezuela matters for a lot more to the U.S. than just its oil.

A.M. Mora y Leon 03 02 06