[Marxism] FW: Hugo Chavez Tells BBC, We Have More Oil Than Saudi Arabia / No More Cheap Oil

Steffie Brooks steffie.brooks at gmail.com
Tue Apr 4 15:03:17 MDT 2006

from ActionGreens yahoo list --

(apologies if this has been posted already; I don't see it)

Message: 5
  Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2006 04:47:55 -0700 (PDT)
  From: Don DeBar <dondebar at yahoo.com>
Subject: CHAVEZ TELLS PALAST: No more cheap oil

Greg Palast Reporting for BBC Newsnight TV
Monday, April 3, 2006

In an exclusive interview with GREG PALAST, Hugo Chávez declares a new
oil order. Venezuela officially demands OPEC recognize his nation's reserves as

Tonight, BBC Newsnight will kick off its Latin America Week Special
with Palast's exclusive report from Venezuela.

You can watch the BBC Newsnight Report live at 5.30 pm EST at
Newsnight's website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm
(The report will remain viewable for 24 hours).

Read below about BBC Newsnight revelations ...
BBC Newsnight
Monday April 3, 2006

If you thought high oil prices were just a blip think again. In an
exclusive interview with Greg Palast for BBC Newsnight the Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez has ruled out any return to the era of cheap oil.
The colourful Venezuelan leader hosts the OPEC meeting on June 1 in
Caracas and he will ask OPEC to set $50 a barrel - the average price last
year - as the long term level. During the 1990s the price of oil had
hovered around the $20 mark falling as low as $10 a barrel in early 1999.
Chavez told Newsnight "we're trying to find an equilibrium. The price
of oil could remain at the low level of $50. That's a fair price it's
not a high price". Hugo Chavez will have added clout at this OPEC

US Department of Energy analyses seen by Newsnight show that at $50 a
barrel Venezuela - not Saudi Arabia - will have the biggest oil reserves
in OPEC. Venezuela has vast deposits of extra heavy oil in the Orinoco.
Traditionally these have not been counted because at $20 a barrel they
were too expensive to exploit - but at $50 a barrel melting them into
liquid petroleum becomes extremely profitable.

The US DoE report shows that at today's prices Venezuela's oil reserves
are bigger than those of the entire Middle East including Saudi Arabia,
the Gulf states, Iran and Iraq. The US DoE also identifies Canada as
another future oil superpower. Venezuela's deposits alone could extend
the oil age for another 100 years.

The US DoE estimates that Chavez controls 1.3 trillion barrels of oil -
more than the entire declared oil reserves of the rest of the planet.
Hugo Chavez told Newsnight's Greg Palast that "Venezuela has the largest
oil reserves in the world. In the future Venezuela won't have any more
oil - but that's in the 22nd century. Venezuela has oil for 200 years."
Chavez will ask the OPEC meeting in June to formally accept that
Venezuela's reserves are now bigger than Saudi Arabia's.

Chavez's increased muscle will not go down well in Washington. In 2002
the Bush administration welcomed an attempted coup against Chavez. He
told Newsnight that the Americans had organised it in an attempt to get
hold of Venezuela's oil.

Ironically by invading Iraq George Bush has boosted oil prices and
effectively transferred billions of dollars from American consumers to
Chavez. Up to $200 million a day - half of it from the US - is flooding
into Caracas. Chavez is spending this on building infrastructure and
increasing the minimum wage and improving health and education in the poor
ranchos which surround the cities. As a result even his opponents accept
that Chavez is extremely popular and will easily win the next
Presidential election in December.

Chavez is also spending billions in the rest of Latin America -
exchanging contracts for oil tankers and infrastructure projects and buying up
loans in Argentina and Brazil. He has made cheap oil deals with Ecuador
and the Caribbean.

He has also spent some of the dollars which have come in from the US
supporting Fidel Castro in Cuba. In return Cuba has supplied the
thousands of doctors and teachers who are transforming conditions in the
barrios of Caracas. Washington accuses Chavez of buying influence in Latin

The Newsnight team had to endure the long speeches and marathon six
hour TV shows which Hugo Chavez delights in. Chavez posed for Newsnight
posing with the sword of Simon Bolivar the 18th century liberator who
drove out Spanish imperialists from South America. The symbolism was clear
but behind the showman is a clever political brain.
Chavez has not invaded any foreign countries. He does not have secret
prisons at home or abroad. Chavez has repeatedly won democratic
elections and the opposition operates freely although some members have been
charged with accepting illegal foreign donations. Nonetheless George
Bush's administration repeatedly targets Chavez on human rights and
finances his opponents.

Earlier this year US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared Chavez
to Hitler - because he was elected democratically - and last year the
influential American evangelist Pat Robertson called for his
assassination. Robertson later apologized and said that he did not "necessarily"
have to be killed so long as he was kidnapped by American special

Chavez told Newsnight that he was still concerned that George Bush had
not learnt the lessons of Iraq and would order an invasion to try to
secure Venezuela's oil. "I pray this will not happen because US soldiers
will bite the dust and so will we, Venezuelans". He warned that any
such attempt would lead to a prolonged guerilla war and an end to oil
production. "The US people should know there will be no oil for anyone".
Chavez does not accept Tony Blair's criticism of him for lining up with
Fidel Castro. He told Newsnight "if someone is sleeping together it is
Bush and Blair. They share the same bed."
Also see The Guardian story about the report:
Read, "The Assassination of Hugo Chavez," in Greg Palast's new book,
"ARMED MADHOUSE: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War" to be
released by Penguin Dutton June 6 (US) and July 7 (UK).
Pre-order it today or donate to Palast Investigative Fund for a
personally signed copy at:
View Palast's investigative reports for Harper's Magazine and BBC
Television's Newsnight at http://www.GregPalast.com
Special thanks to Matt Pascarella, Leni von Eckardt, and Richard Rowley
for their research and production assistance on this report.

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