End of the Year Top Five

Jpm5000000pmMon, 07 May 2007 12:52:23 -080007 23, 2007

Well then, here they are… 



“One Response to ‘Brazil’s Part’”



“Venezuela in Nicaragua”


“And He’s Outta There!!!!”


“Ok, Chavez Buys Subs forVenezuela”


“Here he goes again…”




Jpm5000000pmThu, 03 May 2007 22:42:46 -080007 23, 2007

Recently, Hugo Chavez announced that he intends to remove Venezuela from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.  Over the last eight years, his government has been able to pay off all of its debts to both organizations and now that he is not obligated to them, he wants to sever the ties with what he calls the “Washington organizations.”  Furthermore, he is looking to create a regional equivalent to the two organizations with the help from several other Latin American countries. 

            So the question is: will this action set a precedent for the rest of South America to stop relying on the United States and other so called neo-liberalist institutions?  Currently, I am unaware of the rest of Latin America and South America’s debt issues, but most likely they are still repaying the IMF and World Bank.  Therefore, if these countries were able to pay off their debts, would they join Venezuela in creating a regional economic institution with many of the properties of the IMF?  Furthermore, would an institution in this part of the world work?

            While these are pretty far fetched ideas (and I do have my doubts about them), there have been crazier things to happen in the world.  Personally, I think that if the IMF were ever in the situation that it might lose a large majority of its member nations (in the case that much of South America left and a portion of the world followed), I think they would consider reforming some of the policies to become more partial to the rest of the world.  Overall, it seems like the ideas that Chavez is preaching to South America and his allies—most of the rhetoric is anti American, anti-globalization, anti-capitalist, etc.—is considered outlandish and nonsense here in the North; but I think it is a different story in some of the southern nations. 


Here he goes again…

Jpm5000000pmTue, 01 May 2007 19:49:43 -080007 23, 2007

It finally happened: to solidfy the socialist status of his country, Hugo Chavez took over the last privately run oil field in Venezuela. 

The companies ceding control included BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., France’s Total SA and Norway’s Statoil ASA. All but ConocoPhillips signed agreements last week agreeing in principle to state control, and ConocoPhillips said Tuesday that it too was cooperating.

While this was not an overnight coup (there have been talks going on for a while now), it still is somewhat of a wake up call for these companies, and the governments of these companies.  Chavez declines to talk about (or just refutes) any problems that the national oil company might have or the lack of experience.  Most outside oil experts agree that the Venezuelan government and oil operations need these foreign companies to help ensure the proper production of the oil.  In sum, Venezuela needs their expertise.   Furthermore, Chavez said that if the oil companies were to step out, China, India, and other countries could step in–excluding you know who.

While this recent step by Chavez is a risky one, it also appears to be somewhat well received by the people.  The question is will this work?  Does Venezuela even with the expertise from the other oil companies hold the capacity to develop all that oil?




Jpm4000000pmThu, 12 Apr 2007 17:44:42 -080007 23, 2007

OK, I realize this is an old article, but it really caught my attention, and I implore everyone to read how ludicrous it is.  President Hugo Chavez created another decree that banned the sale of alcohol last weekend for the Holy Week.  Apparently, Venezuela consumes more alcohol than any other Latin American nation, so steps were taken to prevent some more fatalities.  Here is an example of a few quotes within the article that are worth noting.

Authorities also banned liquor sales on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, while on Saturday bars, restaurants and liquor stores can sell alcohol from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Until Thursday, alcohol can be sold only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 This made absolutely no sense considering people can stock up on their booze either before Thursday or after Saturday.  I would think that sales of alcohol actually might boost because people buy a little extra.

Life is worth more than capitalist interests,” Pedro Carreño, the interior minister, told reporters.

Wow. Read this article.



Oil Politics in Venezuela

Jam4000000amTue, 10 Apr 2007 05:58:25 -080007 23, 2007

   Oil Co-DependentsChavez is at it again, creatingdeadlines for and making accusations against the large oil companies from the United States and Europe and ultimately just complicating things for himself.  The United States imports roughly 60% of our oil, and over 10% of that comes from Venezuela.  On the other hand, we have been importing over half of the oil produced by Venezuela.   Therefore, shaky politics and the worsening ties between the two countries is only going to hurt other countries if something drastic occurs.  While Chavez claims to be diversifying his relations for other people to buy his oil, the main country to fill the American thirst for oil would be China, who is not ready to take that position for a few more years.  As of now, it could appear that Chavez may have the upper hand in the situation, but until he can create more stability in Venezuela, it doesn’t appear like he is ready to take over all oil production in the country (if that were to be his goal), and squander such a vast natural resource like many of the other oil countries.



A New Currency in Venezuela

Jam3000000amFri, 23 Mar 2007 10:25:52 -080007 23, 2007

Another striking change in the policies of Hugo Chavez occurred recently when he decided to introduce a new currency, or rather, take a few zeroes off the old one and bringing back some old coins.  What should be interesting to watch is how the new prices affect the economy and how confusing things might be. Furthermore, it will be important to see how long it takes for the old currency to come off the market and the new currency to replace it.  I believe it will be a long process and fairly difficult because of the status of the country, and the hurting economy.  Currently, Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in South America which has led Hugo Chavez to make these drastic changes in the economy.  Chavez believes that renaming the currency and the re-denomination will bring the economy back to the prosperity from decades ago.  Also, Chavez is bringing back a 12.5 cent coin to mimic one of the past involving Simon Bolivar.  It seems like this move by Chavez is just one to draw more nationalism from the Venezuelan.




Venezuela and Capybara, not Chavez…?

Jpm3000000pmThu, 22 Mar 2007 13:15:34 -080007 23, 2007

CapybaraSo, it’s almost Easter time, and everyone (in Easter celebrating regions) are preparing a feast of some sort, or at least getting ready to.  While turkey might be a favorite in the United States, other nations have other different preferences.  Venezuela has a pretty unique on in fact: the capybara.  It is a delicacy in the country that was so popular it was nearly wiped out by poachers.  President Chavez is even a fan claiming to eat “capybara empanadas washed down with papaya juice.” While the ways in which the animal are hunted and killed are sometimes criticized and scrutinized, it doesn’t change the fact that its meat can cost sometimes more than twice that of beef.  By the way, the capybara is also the largest rodent in the world.

            Lately, every time I search for a news article about Venezuela, typical results will be negative related to the deteriorating relationship between the S and Chavez, or just criticism about Chavez and his government.  So when I ran across this article (the headliner for the mericas region of the New York Times website), I was a pleasant relief.  Reading this article will remind people that although the Venezuelan government is an adversary to the S government, politics are not the only thing going on in the country.  However, it is still ironic and humorous that a story about the capybara hunting in Venezuela should make headlines on nytimes.com.