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November 24, 2005

Hugo Chavez.

Here’s a nice little demonstration of why rule by populist strongmen is not really a very good idea.

To the annoyance of many in Washington, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a company controlled by the Venezuelan government, is to supply more than 12 million gallons of heating oil at 40 per cent below market prices.

A nice piece of political theatre for Chavez, of course. But that’s however many millions of $ that the poor Venezuelans are giving to the vastly richer Americans. Not really, on the face of it, a clever thing to do.

Joe Kennedy, the chairman of Citizens Energy, one of the organisations that will distribute the oil,

Ah, knew there had to be a Kennedy in something this stupid.

November 24, 2005 in Politics | Permalink

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» Bridge over troubled oil from Classical Values
Sometimes, I am not cynical enough. When I wrote about Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's publicity stunt (supplying discount oil to "help America's poor") earlier, I wasn't quite getting the entire picture, and I overlooked a key player. Today's Inquir... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 29, 2006 2:52:12 PM

» Bridge over troubled oil from Classical Values
Sometimes, I am not cynical enough. When I wrote about Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's publicity stunt (supplying discount oil to "help America's poor") earlier, I wasn't quite getting the entire picture, and I overlooked a key player. Today's Inquir... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 29, 2006 2:53:51 PM

» Bridge over troubled oil? from Classical Values
Sometimes, I am not cynical enough. When I wrote about Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's publicity stunt (supplying discount oil to "help America's poor") earlier, I wasn't quite getting the entire picture, and I overlooked a key player. Today's Inquir... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 29, 2006 2:55:39 PM

Comments

Hi -

I saw this as well and commented it on my blog: while not illegal, it certainly is borderline behavior and is very dangerous...

http://21stcenturyschizoidman.blogspot.com/2005/11/and-fun-begins.html

Best regards,

John

Posted by: John F. Opie | Nov 24, 2005 8:46:47 AM

A nice subsidy for the American economy. With enemies like that, who needs friends? :-)

P.S. Hello John! (from a fellow King Crimson fan).

Posted by: David B. Wildgoose | Nov 24, 2005 2:23:23 PM

why is Venezuela not allowed to have a foreign policy or a public relations department? Twelve million gallons of heating oil doesn't sound all that expensive, and it's bought more and better publicity than you could pay for.

Posted by: dsquared | Nov 24, 2005 10:21:13 PM

dsquared -

Venezuala can have a foreign policy all it wants: the problem here is bypassing the usual formal channels and going directly to a foreign populace. This is in direct contravention of standard diplomatic practice.

So what, you might say?

Well, then I guess you won't mind it when the US government starts sending food directly to Cuba, parachuting it down to the Cubans in order to get around the Castro government, and playing that up on the evening news as proof that Castro can't feed his own people.

Same principle.

It's a very agressive way to do foreign policy and is guaranteed to make thorny issues worse and not better.

And besides, there are lots of folks in Venezuala who are a lot worse off than house owners in Massachusetts, might it not behoove Chavez to pay attention to the plight of his own before tweaking the nose of the Nortes?

And David - yep, I've seen them live in almost all of their permutations since 1969. Most recently in Frankfurt a few years ago...

Posted by: John F. Opie | Nov 25, 2005 8:46:27 AM