Venezuela: A Flashing Red Light

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 18, 2004 | Go to article overview

Venezuela: A Flashing Red Light


Byline: Ariel Cohen and Stephen Johnson, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

After open-collar, red-shirt-clad Hugo Chavez claimed a victory in a referendum, the global oil outlook is gloomier than before. Geopolitically, Venezuela has become a flashing red light.

During his six years in power, Mr. Chavez has increasingly politicized oil, nationalized and mismanaged the national oil company PDVSA, and used its finances as a political kitty (up to $3.7 billion this year alone) to buy off the poor. Beyond Venezuela, he sees himself replacing Fidel Castro as the leader of Latin America's radical left, opposing democracy, free markets, and American influence.

Mr. Chavez uses oil as a political tool to advance his hemispheric and global ambitions. He played a key role in the 1999 and 2003 decisions of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production and coordinate policy aimed at driving oil prices higher. In 2000, Mr. Chavez visited Iran, Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia, further agitating for production cuts and quota enforcement. The year, he promised Fidel Castro 53,000 barrels of subsidized oil a day in exchange for the services of Cuban teachers - and intelligence experts.

Until the Chavez presidency, oil-rich Venezuela had been at peace with its neighbors and a firm American ally.

The situation changed in 1998. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Chavez campaigned against the "savage capitalism" of the United States. He allegedly aided Afghanistan's Taliban government following the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States. Mr. Chavez also proclaimed Cuba and Venezuela were "called upon to be a spearhead and summon other nations and governments" to fight free market capitalism.

After a June 24, 2004, U.S. Senate hearing on the Venezuela situation, Mr. Chavez called U.S. congressmen "dogs of war, those that intend to dominate the world, those imperialists."

In Venezuela's immediate area, Mr. Chavez has aided the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In Bolivia, Mr. Chavez supported indigenous activists who led an uprising that forced elected President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada from office in October 2003. And in El Salvador, Venezuelan troops on a post-earthquake mission urged villagers to support the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.

Mr. Chavez's Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) party is allied with the Brazil-based Foro de Sao Paulo - an organization of some 39 rabidly leftist parties and guerrilla organizations from 16 countries in the hemisphere. It opposes U.S. counternarcotics collaboration with Latin America and the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which it characterizes as a U.S. "annexation."

In November 2003, Mr. Chavez inaugurated the first Peoples Bolivarian Congress, whose cells now spy on neighbors in Venezuela. It brought together 400 representatives from 20 Latin American countries expressly to condemn the policies of the United States, the U.S. Southern Command, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

But it is his handling of oil, which reveals an agenda of destructive populism. During its 20-year history PDVSA built a reputation for smooth operation and competence. Even though it nationalized its oil industry in 1975, exploration and production were reopened to foreign participation in 1996.

The 2002-2003 national strike devastated the oil giant. Some 35,000-40,000 skilled workers, including fire fighters, walked out while spillage and fires ensued. Daily production dropped from 3 million barrels (mbd) to 600,000 barrels. Mr. Chavez fired 18,000 skilled managers and workers, further undermining PDVSA's precarious situation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Venezuela: A Flashing Red Light
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.