01 December 2007

Hugo's Oil Hedge

As we draw closer to Venezuela’s Yes or No vote on constitutional reform, Hugo Chavez’s motor mouth is running at nitrous oxide enriched turbo speeds.

Each new diatribe gets wackier. In his latest, Chavez threatens to “cut oil sales to the United States if the American government interferes in Sunday's referendum.”

“Interference?”. Who’s the referee responsible for flagging the infraction? Why Chavez, of course.

Chavez already has a ready made connection between the US government and “interference” with the constitutional reform vote. According to the Venezuelan government, there’s a CIA plan afoot aimed at “destabilizing campaigns, distribution of false polls, while the CIA plot supposedly indicates a vote for yes, and a call of fraud when it passes.”

The plan, “Operation Pliers”, (Tenazas), came to light when a memo describing the operation from CIA officer Michael Middleton Steere to the director of the US agency, Gen. Michael Hayden was discovered by the Chavez authorities. The Venezuelan government has threatened to expel an unnamed diplomat if the memo turns out to be authentic.

The Venezuelan opposition claims that Chavez’s elections are farcical because the voter rolls, which they claim the government won’t share with the opposition, are inflated by about 20% and the electronic voting machines that the Chavez government manufactured and programmed are coded to use these phantom voters to win.

With just about every poll showing that Chavez’s “SI” is behind and loosing more support everyday, Chavez is being forced to hedge.

If “Si” wins the referendum by the allegedly pre-programmed 20%, when all the polls, even the ones from pollsters that accurately predicted Chavez’s previous electoral victories, show the “No” to be winning, the opposition, the international press-read CNN whom he has also accused of working for the CIA in yet another plot of pschological warfare to instigate his assassination-, and the international community will cry foul and demand investigations. Citizens will pour into the streets in protest and it might get real ugly.

Chavez, the referee, can then throw his interference flag, call the CIA’s number, stop oil sales to the US, which by the way, is the currently only country with refineries that can handle Venezuela’s heavy crude and is responsible for the roughly 60% of that country’s oil revenues, take over the country's media, kick out the foreign press, and plunge Venezuela into political and economic chaos with a ready-made scapegoat-the USA and its CIA- and further strengthen his grip on Venezuela. The ones that will suffer the most will be the Venezuelan people , but that won't matter after Sunday since Venezuela will by then be an officially socialist state where the individual exists to serve the state, not the other way around.

Sound Familiar? It should. It's a replay. The plays are being called and reviewed by the replay official in the Havana booth.
They're hedging that because roughly 11% of the American oil supply is Venezuelan, that the US will not lead any international protests, where Chavez has been busily making enemies lately, or back the oposition's claims of fraud to keep the domestic gas prices at the currently high levels.

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