Chavez vs ExxonMobil war escalates

Late last week, ExxonMobil won a court order to freeze PDVSA (the Venezuelan national oil company) assets overseas, up to a value of $12 billion, as part of a dispute over oil fields in the country that Venezuela has nationalised, but for which Exxon has refused to accept the compesantion proposed by the Venezuelans. 6 oil companies are in that situation, and 4 of them accepted Chavez's terms, Conoco being the other holdout with Exxon.

Today, Chavez hit back, by threatening to cut off oil deliveries to the USA

"If you freeze us, if you really manage to freeze us, if you damage us, then we will hurt you. Do you know how? We are not going to send oil to the United States," Chavez said on his weekly TV show.

He's also made a slew of other accusations:

Chavez Says U.S. Is Selling Cocaine, Arms to Venezuela's Poor

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S., supported in part by factions in Colombia's government, is selling cocaine and weapons in Venezuela's low-income neighborhoods as a way to destabilize the country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.

Now, as the first article notes, Chavez regularly threatens to cut off supplies to the US, but has not actually done so in the past, so that threat may be an empty gesture again. And it must be noted, as a first point of background, that the only way to cut off deliveries to the US is to cut off deliveries altogether, as any oil delivered elsewhere will be in the global market and no actual imbalance will have been created. So Chavez would need to be willing to take some pain (in the form of lower revenues) to hurt the US - and that would work only if supplies from elsewhere could not cover the difference. The question of what the worldwide spare capacity is today is a fraught one, but it's likely that it's quite small, so Chavez's threat has teeth - especially as a lot of Venezuelan crude has technical specifications for which some US refineries are specifically adapted, and these would definitely be hurt more. Of course, the goal may simply be to get prices up, which delivery cuts would definitely achieve, but which the mere fact of threatening cuts also provides to a lesser extent.

Similarly, ExxonMobil's action is not likely to prevent PDVSA from continuing its activities and its exports (and its debt service to foreign lenders); as many analysts have noted, it is but a legal manoeuver to put pressure on the Venezuelans and get them to pay more for the assets they nationalized.

For a breathless, "We're Winning the War on Terra" description of Exxon's stand for freedom and apple pie, you can go read this text circulated by CNN which I cannot resist to quote:

Exxon Mobil, a $440 billion company with operations across the globe, has for decades dealt with crazy, corrupt governments. It routinely does business with the likes of Chad, Russia and Angola and knows all about them. But it's never run into a partner as outrageously bad as Venezuela. That's why its unprecedented move to take Venezuela all the way to international courts over Chavez's seizure of its assets is a big blow from the private sector against a dictatorship that otherwise seems to hold all the cards.

Exxon sends the message that playing within the rule of law is a far better means to succeed, win and play with the big boys than to break contracts, steal assets and violate internationally recognized norms, as exemplified in Chavez's Venezuela.

Last year, the power-mad petrotyrant declared Exxon and Venezuela's other foreign investors "robbers" and vowed to conquer them like Simon Bolivar taking the Andes. He hurled leftist nationalistic rhetoric against these private companies whose only "crime" was to invest in and bring jobs to Venezuela.

But what I found most intriguing and curious was this small paragraph buried in the first article I quoted:

Washington has distanced itself from the Exxon legal offensive in which the largest U.S. company won international court orders freezing up to $12 billion of the state oil company PDVSA's assets.

Washington has distanced itself from Exxon legal actions against Chavez? I have been unable to find any other reference to this, but it is really strange, and I wonder if anyone else has seen more on this, or would have any explanation for it...

In any case, Chavez is ratcheting the rhetoric against the US government as well as against Exxon, so that point may be moot, and we can expect the oil markets to take notice as they re-open in the morning tomorrow.

As this happens in the midst of the US primary frenzy, it's likely to be overshadowed by the discussion of the McCain-Huckabee-Clineton-Obama ratraces, but one can wish that the campaigns focused a little more on actual issues, given all that's going on right now. Beyond this outburst you have in the background the pending IAEA report on Iran, the worsening credit crisis, and NATO allies profoundly divided over Afghanistan, not to mention Iraq, the housing collapse, global warming or doubts on future oil production levels....

I wonder if some organizations could help to mediate this conflict?

Could OPEC or the UN provide a context for mediation?

The Saudis certainly wanted control of their own oil resources -- and got it back, eventually.

I wonder about the World Trade Organization as a venue for mediation, but fear that the Corporatist's would simply use that venue as another tool to oust Chavez as a "non-compliant government leader" and put in a compliant leader.

The WTO sure seems like an organization designed to subvert democratically elected officials and legislation passed by legitimate governments.

Will this in fact be resolved in a World Court of some sort?

Will this be resolved by use of force in combination with the obvious "soft power" or economic power being thrown around by Chavez and EM?

At least Chavez offered compensation, apparently insufficient for Mobil-Exxon and Conoco.

Further negotiations are in order. Who will faciltate?

Yo everyone... I'm having some difficulty understanding the whole Venezualan oil and our potential freeze on them. We have a conversation going on at:

Go to "Elizabeth" and help us out. There's a guy on here that really knows what he's talking about when it comes to oil subsidies, and I, frankly, need some help.

Having read all the comments about Venezuela and Huge Chavez, one comes to few rather sad conclusions; the level of ignorance and prejudice expressed, relating both to Chavez's political movement and Venezuelan history, social structure, and economy is truly staggering and what little knowledge there is, is grossly simplistic and smacks of traditional Gringo atttitudes to Latin America in general.

Is there a market out there taking bets on whether or not the U.S. invades Venezuela? Probably not a great idea, even in the eyes of the Bush administration. Total chaos in the world oil market would probably not be timely in helping the Republicans to retain power

A few months ago, one of the talking heads on the Fox News Channel (one of their staff) asked if Chavez cutting off oil supplies to the US was equivalent to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the US. Of course, Chavez has to sell the oil somewhere, so presumably the oil not sent to the US would be offset, for the time being, by oil from elsewhere. Of course, IMO all of this is against a backdrop of declining oil exports. However, the Fox comments do illustrate the thinking by some Neocons.

On the other hand, IMO most of the US is clearly suffering from "Empire Fatigue," which is a point that "Mish" discusses. He has an interesting take on Barack Obama and the war in Iraq. He is making the case that there is a groundswell of support for pulling out of Iraq--not only because of the bloodshed, but because of the financial cost:


. . . Obama has united those sick of war for any reason with those convinced that leaving Iraq is the single most important thing economically we can do for the country. That is a powerful union!

. . . Obama has managed to do what McCain and Hillary have not: Unite the country with a simple three word message conveying a positive attitude about change . . .

As a political slogan, it has the major advantage of being totally true.

I've heard this, "I'm a uniter, not a divider!" line once before from a politician. I'm not saying this time it isn't different (it is different), but to argue against that point, exit polls in California suggested anyway that the people who were sick of Iraq tended to vote to Obama, those concerned about the economy tended to vote more for Clinton:

Hard to say since that war in Iraq is rather costly.

I have heard "I'm a uniter, not a divider!" and also "you are either with us or you are against us". Which is it and in which case? Can you believe anything this person says at any time?


I don't know of prediction for this event. Intrade may start one.

It has one for an attack on Iran.

From Reuters’ “UPDATE 3-Venezuela threatens to stop US oil sales over Exxon”


Exxon's move is the boldest challenge yet by an oil major against any of the governments from Russia to Ecuador that have moved to increase their control over natural resources as energy and commodity prices have soared.

Industry analysts believe other companies could follow Exxon's lead if it prevails in a court battle that could take several years.

Is America’s increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies raising to the forefront another great American tradition, litigation?

Unfortunately, diplomacy and negotiation, the stuff of real politique has not been the U.S.’s strong card lately. So back to the law courts.

Don’t worry folks about $4-$5/gallon oil. The corporate lawyers will earn extra earnings to cushion the blow. At least for themselves.

Chevez is not a sterling icon of “rule of law” and “diplomatic niceties” either. The pathologies of Bush and Chevez mirror each other. One armed with neo-con rhetoric. The other with neo- socialist gibberish. On the stage of world history, in a bizarre and twisted way, the two presidents are made for each other.

Too bad. Like in most family squabbles between contesting willful relatives, it’s everyone else who has to cope with the mess.

Do I think Bush would send in the Marines to settle the question or keep oil flowing? Nothing would surprise me. As I say above, real politique has not been Bush's strength.

Sending the Marines into Caracas might have the same result as sending the Marines into Baghdad. OTOH, it might be a marginally smarter move than attacking Iran. At this point nothing that this administration might do would surprise me...even nuclear war.
Chevez is pressing hard so he might have some real cards...or, he might be bluffing. Does anyone know what sort of treaties, if any, were signed between Iran and Venesuela? What effect would a cut off of Venesuelan oil have on the US economy? Could we get enough oil from elsewhere to make up for the loss from Venesuela? Could Joe Sixpack be convinced that his job loss and rising prices were caused by Chevez? Do we have enough troops (not committed to Iraq/Afganistan and other bases) to take over Venesuela and insure oil flow is not impaired by insurgents? If Exxon wants their investments back will China want their investments in Venesuela back after a possible US invasion? I have a lot more questions...Just asking.

If the USA wants to Invade Venezuela then it must institute the draft. This is a non-starter.

As the American economy collapses, more disenfranchised uneducated southerners will hand their lives over to the American military machine anyway.

With a draft, presumably young people of all social standings would be eligible for warfare, increasing the anti-war pressure from their concerned parents.

National service in America would have resulted in fewer wars.

And of course our old standby immediate citizenship if you join the army.

I happen to agree national service esp if it had a large humanitarian component would have been a good thing in the US. Even if it became a pork barrel I'd have rather seen us building bridges and roads than selling arms.

It's a good thing oil isn't subsidized like ethanol. Sarcasm off.

River, about insuring the flow of oil from Venezuela, I imagine someone here will be able to quote chapter and verse as to how much oil flowed from Iraq before the US invasion and how much is flowing in 2008, five years later.

But from this:

Oil - production:
2.11 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
295,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.67 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Greenspan said it was clear to him that Saddam Hussein had wanted to control the Straits of Hormuz and so control Middle East oil shipments through the vital route out of the Gulf. He said that had Saddam been able to do that it would have been "devastating to the west" as the former Iraqi president could have just shut off 5m barrels a day and brought "the industrial world to its knees.

If Greenspan was correct about 5 million barrels a day in that statement then Bush should be given a medal for reducing the amount that could be shut off from 5 million barrels a day to a mere 1.6 million a day.

Will he be even more successful in Venezuela? Good question!

Hussein NEVER had a navy to give him even a method of controling the Staits of Hormuz, thereby revealing Greenspan's level of knowledge of such things.

Point well missed karlov1 :)

I was not commenting on your main point; rather, it was Greenspan's ignorance, which I made clear enough.

karlof1, I think CrystalRadio was agreeing with you - saying Greenspan missed the main point too. The happy face at the end gives it away.

Thanks Zadok, but sorry, I'm not that deep, karlov was right about Greenspan but I just wanted to say to him that Greenspan was immaterial to the point I wished to make which was about the effect an invasion of Venezuela would have on oil exported to the US. But that was a right good interpretation of yours I wish I had thought of it, anyway here we all are, being right ... neat!:)

If Sadam were a Bismark, he would have not stopped at Kuwait but continued across another 400 miles of undefended desert and occupied Ghawar. That would have made much more sense than trying to control the Straits of Hormuz which is the other side of Iran.

Obviously, if he had done that, we would all be eating out of his hand right now and he would have been sanctified by the Pope himself.

I think this oil cutoff is a self-resolving threat.

Crazy Hugo: We're gonna cut off selling oil to you for three months!

Crazy George: We'll call your three, and the Navy will blockade you for another nine.

(Chavez's accountant reminds him of the monthly bill for paying off his cronies.)

Crazy Hugo: Imperialist Warmonger!! We DEMAND you allow our oil exports!

Crazy George: Well, OK, but I gotta call Exxon and Halliburton first and see what they prefer. Turns out they kinda like $6 gasoline.

Have any of you been to Venezuela lately?
The political literacy here is slightly below the frat level at Texas Tech--

CNN doesn't appear to be doing much better with journalistic literacy:

Last year, the power-mad petrotyrant declared Exxon and Venezuela's other foreign investors "robbers" and vowed to conquer them like Simon Bolivar taking the Andes. He hurled leftist nationalistic rhetoric against these private companies whose only "crime" was to invest in and bring jobs to Venezuela.

Is there any height or depth that CNN won't go to in order to provide professional, balanced, and accurate reporting to an international, intelligent and savvy public? With integrity and language like this, no wonder the National Enquirer is finding it hard to compete.

Al Jezeera will have to go a long way to top this.

"Power-mad Petrotyrant" -- Let's see, does that refer to the non-elected President-Select of the USA, or to the elected President of Venezuela?

Perhaps the one who invaded Iraq without cause -- a war crime for oil -- would be considered by many people in many nations to be the power-mad petrotyrant?

Meanwhile, which country has Chavez invaded?

The control over natural resources may be usurped by multinational corporations, but doesn't it rightly belong to the people who live where that resource is located? Or better yet, don't we belong to the earth, and need to learn what this means?

As has been pointed out before, perhaps Chavez and Bush mirror one another in many ways.

What would it be like if the presidents of both countries sat down together and had a conversation about how we are all competing for too few (and dwindling) resources, and we need to come up with a non-violent plan to power down and shift to a sustainable energy paradigm? Would that not be a conversation more worthy of great leaders, rather than all of this macho wrangling tangled in the morass of Corporatist Voodoo Economics and Free Market Mumbo Jumbo?

Extra-territorial judicial machinations by courts in the USA and its allies are clearly of dubious legitimacy. When Canada tried to sue US tobacco companies for smuggling cheap cigarettes into Canada in the USA over 10 years ago, the US judge claimed that Canada had no legal standing in the USA. The USA and its corporate and legal entities have no legal standing in Venezuela.

The USA and its corporate and legal entities have no legal standing in Venezuela.

XOM is/was an entity in Venezuela, too.  It's the Venezuelan assets of that entity which are at issue here.

The question here is whether Venezuela can be held to the terms of a contract it signed, or not.  If it can break any contract it likes after receiving consideration (like large investments in infrastructure), then nobody (in their right mind) will do business with them.  XOM is demanding that Venezuela either live up to the contract or pay the current value for those assets; you'll find this in all kinds of contracts.

This assumes that contracts between the state and corporations is on an equal footing. The US government can break contracts with some offer of compensation. Eminent domain is one form of this supreme sovereign status the government has in common and statutory law.

Engineer Poet-
That contract was signed when Venezuela was a client state of the US, just CorpWhores in it for the feeding at the trough. Any contract signed under the current elected government will be honored.
Fidel did not honor contracts signed by the Batista dictatorship.

That contract was signed when Venezuela was a client state of the US

Evidence of your claim? I doubt that you know the actual details of who signed what and when, but if you have evidence to back up your claim, I would be interested in seeing it. A number of people here have been making this claim, but I haven't seen any actual evidence.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


The original contracts were signed in the 1990s ( during the regime of Carlos Andrés Pérez, a "neoliberal" who backed IMF imposed austerity programs ('%C3%A9tat_attempts) that caused great hardship for Venezuela's poor. The IMF is basically an instrument of U.S. policy, and if you want a case backing that statement, I can make it.

I think it fair to call Venezuela under Pérez a client state of the U.S.

Chavez thought enough of ConocoPhillips to sign a contract with them in 2005:

A contract he later shredded, after a lot of money had already been sunk into the project.

I say again, I don't care about the oil. Even Corocoro, which ConocoPhillips discovered:

And agreements on this field were signed in 2003 - when Chavez was in power. Renegotiated in 2005 when Chavez decided to change the law. Torn up in 2007 when he decided to change the law again.

But I would like the investments back that we put into Venezuela. And I think we will get a positive ruling on this. And COP did have a lot more invested into Venezuela than ExxonMobil did.

Exxon came into Venezuela under "Apertura Petrolera" (Rafael Caldera's government)--
He was essentially a US puppet, and the US did the pulling of the strings.
His followers protested Chavez, many arriving in ther Convertable Jag's.

OH NO! Conspiracy! Evil!

If you perhaps bothered to read the article, you'd see that it is an editorial from Investor's Business Daily republished on CNN as part of a content sharing agreement.

One should hardly be surprised at the tone of the editorial since it is an OPINION piece from a pro-business publication that is to the right of the Wall Street Journal. It was not ordered up out of the Cheney bunker.

This site loses credibility when its posters are constantly making groundless, _reflexive_ accusations that paint everything in simple-minded, left vs. right, conspiracy-laden puffery.

There is enough evil to deal with without the distractions of such hysterical, Chicken Little-type hyperbole.

I don't know about political literacy in Venezuela, but I do know Chavez is no dummy. The discounted oil to various communities in the US was a brilliant stroke. The more or less gracious acceptance of the narrow loss on the referendum was also a very smart move. He survived a coup and has since granted amnesty to most of the coup-plotters. Here you can be innocent and spend time in Guantanamo. Chavez is not losing the propaganda war with the neocons, and especially outside this country, and maybe not even in this country. He screws up sometimes, and maybe goes off half-cocked, but then he goes off and thinks. Latin America is in the process of breaking from the embrace of the empire. Chavez gets credit (and blame) for his very big role in that process. It's hard for me to see how there can be any justifiable complaint about that.

What I have a question about is the difference between Exxon and Conoco on the one hand, and the other companies that are going along with the deal. Were they all offered the same deal? Is there some difference in the position of these companies?

hightrekker asks,
"Have any of you been to Venezuela lately?"

I must assume that is a rhetorical question and not one designed to encourage dialogue....why in the freakin' hell would ANYONE go to Venezuela?

It's on my list of desired travel sites....right behind Chad and Cuba, and most people I know feel exactly the same way....such has Chevez been of benefit to the reputation of a once proud and respected Latin American nation....


RC, ... err... speaking as I do living north of the American border, I can tell you that many Canadians do think of Cuba as a prime travel destination - low crime, hospitality, and sunny warm beaches to get away from the frigid cold.

Venezeula may not be at the top of many people's list of ideal holiday get-aways but the same holds true for Columbia or Guatamala, neither of which are bright stars in the Latin American constellation of nations even though their regimes are not condemned whole-heartedly by the US government.

Chavez is no saint and he tends to be blinded by his ideology, true, but then again the same can be said of practically every other world leader.

I have been to Venezuela. Not to Caracas, but along the coast in a yacht. It is sublimely beautiful, the weather is great and the people warm and friendly. And it also only cost about $40 for 100 gallons of diesel! I would go back anyday.

Actually, Venezuela is incredibly beautiful, and involved in a social revolution that is quite amazing.
80% of the population is getting health care, education, creative employment, and empowerment in their lives. The other 20% may need to sell the extra Mercedes.
It is their revolution, let them make the choices and see what works and what doesn't.
South America is the bright spot on the planet, and one of the few places with positive actions.
If anyone flyfishes, the bone fishing in Venezuela is incredible.

WOW, you are DTS
Unreal. Cubans love Castro.
Venezuelians love Chavez.
Viva Chavez.

If Venezuelians love Chevaz why did they reject his attempt to become president for life?

Because they love democracy more.
If Venezuelans don't love Chavez why do they re-elect him?

The fact that he held the "president-for-life" referendum reinforces the "power-mad dictator" theme. However, he lost the referendum, and apparently he's abiding by the result.

Because despite the evidently absurd and probably somewhat racist comment that started this whole subthread, ie:

Have any of you been to Venezuela lately?
The political literacy here is slightly below the frat level at Texas Tech

Venezuelians have plenty of political literacy, and realise that while the megalomaniac they've got is actually quite good for them, the eternal gigalomaniac that would have resulted from that would not be.

NB: There are of course a minority of Venezuelans and expats for whom the megalomaniac is not so good, and a minority of others who would love to see his power amplified 10^3

He did NOT attempt to become president for life--that was US propaganda.

It's on my list of desired travel sites....right behind Chad and Cuba

My Mum went on holiday to Cuba couple of years back. She loved it. She's politically aware, but speaks fluent Spanish. It's quite a significant holiday destination from Europe - not major, but significant - as I imagine it is for all the free world.

It was interesting to compare notes with her compared to my holiday to Dubai (another dictatorship), which was quite crowded with American tourists at the time... The result seems to be I want to visit Cuba, whereas she might stop off in Dubai going somewhere else if it happens to be convenient.

But of course the US government makes it a crime for a US citizen to go to Cuba on holiday - something to do with defending freedom or something.

Yep, been to Venezuela. 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004. Amazing country: Amazon jungle, snow-capped Andes, colonial architecture, undiscovered Caribbean islands, a zest for life (those people can dance!), etc. So to answer your question: why would ANYONE go to Venezuela? For me, it offers a lot that I can't find in the US. For you, maybe stick to Dollywood and Atlantic City...much safer for you.

Have you?

There is a well-to do small middle-class in Caracas that would like to see another corrupt US friendly government to come into power and push aside the corrupt China/Iran befriending Chavez government.

They are politically literate to the extent a normal American is. That is, they want somebody in power to fight for their rights for (even) better life.

Much of the rest of the country is too busy to survive/live to care about such mockery.

Don't believe all the silly propaganda you get from the US MSM about Venezuela.

Meet a real person who has lived and frequently visits there and understands the history and the current situation.

Hello Mbkennel,

LMAO! --> sad, but true! Thxs

a lot of Venezuelan crude has technical specifications for which some US refineries are specifically adapted

Doesn't this work both ways? Wouldn't Chavez have trouble finding another buyer that can refine this oil?

If they can find other large buyers for their oil, we will be in a bind. The 70s oil embargo hit us hard when we imported a smaller percentage of our oil and a much smaller number of barrels per day. The Bush people seemed to have done nothing to alter the course of Exxon and their legal actions. This tells me a lot about who is running things.

Fungable... If he can't find other large buyers we'd be in a bind.

As pointed out on other sections here, they have a heavy grade of oil that some refineries in the U.S. are setup to take. Unless they have another large customer with such facilities, it is not fungible in the sense that oil is oil. There are different grades. The light sweet crude that the Saudis have is easier to refine. The heavy sour crude from Mexico is not.

You want to read what you just wrote and tell me how thats contradicting me?

Oil of one grade is fungible with all other grades. If he can't find another customer, he's taking oil off the market, and if he can, they'll buy less of that grade that then flows into US refineries. The only way Hugo can hurt the US is if he willingly hurts himself.

Let us suppose that Russia wants to support a fellow national oil company like PDVSA:


(i) Begin to make life difficult for Exxon in Sakhalin I

(Consider that Exxon was cooking the Khodorkofski deal which the Russians did not like)

(ii) Make problems for BP since it was British (and Dutch ) courts
that put the lien on the Venezuelan assets

(iii) Cut the gaz to Ukraine as they are threatening to do on the 12th.

Lots of assunptions here. It depends if the major one (will to support) is true.

In spite of the brain dead propaganda in the western media, Khodorkovsky did not own ANY of the oil reserves that Yukos was exploiting. His company had a permit to extract those resources and this permit could be yanked at the discretion of the government. Khodorkovsky's real crime was tax evasion by transfer pricing and outright fraud. Unlike Venezuela and Citgo, Russia decided to not tolerate this theft. Currently, some Yukos investors are trying to sue Russia based on anti-Russian propaganda spread by the western media in offshore courts. These offshore courts have no jurisdiction in Russia no matter what their judges think.

The mentality of these investors is quite absurd. They took a chance and they lost. They do not have any rights to compensation for their losses. I know someone who lost a lot of money on Nortel stock, they are not able to sue Canada for their loss.

Hi Dis,

The mentality of these investors is quite absurd. They took a chance and they lost. They do not have any rights to compensation for their losses.

Imagine if I were a builder and had legally contracted to build a house for you, and I had already taken a chunk of your money. Then I decided (for whatever reason) that I wasn't going to fulfill my end of the contract, but I was going to take most of the money and walk away. Would you just shrug and accept it? Or would you go to court?

Sovereign states submit to binding arbitration, win or lose, all the time. It's one of the ways the world gets along. Even Chavez's closest allies...

Exxon has the makings of a good case here, and it will be interesting to see how things develop. I hold no brief for Exxon, BTW; they're a nasty bunch of polluters, but you don't get rich by underestimating their legal department. Ask the Alaskan fishermen who lost their livelihood after the Exxon Valdez incident, and are still waiting for compensation two decades later.

Unlike Venezuela and Citgo, Russia decided to not tolerate this theft.

Obviously you're confused. Venezuela owns Citgo.

I hate bicycling in the rain. Couldn't they have waited until summer for this spat?

Be thankful it is not in snow with a -20C windchill :)

Hopefully Russia is taking note of Exxon's machinations including the smear job in its press release and prepares to send it packing. Gazprom changed its mind about sending LNG to Canada, in my opinion, due to Harper's harping.

Some court in the USA cannot decide on cases which are TOTALLY outside its jurisdiction (i.e. the US border). We aren't talking about human rights abuse. Exxon's treatment cannot be compared to some US citizen being mistreated. Exxon's PERMIT to extract Venezuelan resources exists at the DISCRETION of the Venezuelan government. Just as your license to drive is a privilege and not a right. Previous drumbeats have had Exxon painted as if it was ripped off to the tune of billions, this is utter nonsense. Future and potential profits are not real losses.

dissident -- terrific points.

It is especially worth noting that Exxon's contracts may be seen as dependent upon Venezuela's discretion. As information and circumstances change, might Venezuela have quite legitimate reason to demand renegotiation of a contract, as it has done?

Some corporations decided to live with it, and some decided to pull out. So why is Exxon complaining if they had the option to re-negotiate just like other companies did, but they just decided to leave the table?

Has the Venezuelan government decided that indeed these companies were draining the lifeblood of their country -- and along the way were subverting democracy by supporting a coup against the elected leader, fomenting civil unrest amoung a small, bloated wealthy class that wants to further enrich itself and the foreign Corporatists at the expense of the majority of Venezuelans?

Exxon is hiding behind the coattails of the US government (and NATO by extension). Courts in some NATO countries have been acting more and more imperial in the last 20 years. They decide about compensation for alleged asset losses in countries like Cuba and now Venezuela. Since these courts never consider the legality of those assets in the first place the rest of their attempts at expanding common law rest on air. Also, judicial norms and value systems in some NATO member states do not have universal precedence. The legally elected Venezuelan government can pass any law it wishes if it applies to its own territory. Venezuela would be obliged to afford special rights to foreign corporations only if it signed international treaties providing for those rights. Consider the case of double taxation, you can't sue one of the countries you reside in to give you back your money if there is no tax treaty, you have to abandon residence in one of them. So it is caveat investor.

The United States owes trillions of dollars it can't pay back. We're just trying to establish a precedent that we don't have to pay the money back either, that we can nationalise the bank accounts and houses owned by rich Venezuelan nationals living in America. And the rich Russian emigrees, etc.

For each trillion dollars of US debt held by foreigners , a drop of 1 % in value of the US dollar, means that those foreigners lost 10 billion in actual value of their own currency, compared to if they had kept the money in their own country’s monetary funds.

This is money they will never get paid back, or see again.
If companies and governments intended to do this, is this theft ??
If they had not intended to do this, but it was obvious that this would happen as much as ten years ago, is this theft ??
Hopefully this is not a direct comparison to the oil assets takeover.

Can someone please tell me how many trillions of debt do foreigners hold and how many percent has the US dollar dropped in the previous year ??



Just looked at Reuter's stories on this issue: all oil companies in Venezuela icluding Total and Statoil Hydro are distancing themselves from the actions of Exxon.

The fact that the US is saying that they are distancing themselves
(lol) from this, simply means that from a strictly legal pov exxon has no leggs to stand on. So they are being used as cutouts.

But if the Russians are really going to support Chavez they have a huge number of tools to do it.

We have to understand that they (the russians) will not respond symmetrically. (Consider that they might get the iranians to cut prodcution by a few hundred thousand barrrels and so on)

In civil law, it is not illegal to breach a contract, but you must be prepared to pay damages. Apparently that is what Exxon is pursuing.

Exxon's PERMIT to extract Venezuelan resources exists at the DISCRETION of the Venezuelan government.

Indeed, but when two parties enter into mutual business contracts and there is a substantial investment by one side, that side which made the investment will clearly expect the other to perform so that the business makes sense. This still applies to governments who are sensible. Exxon put quite a bit of physical infrastructure which is now going to somebody else's benefit.

Just as your license to drive is a privilege and not a right.

Is this truly at the discretion of the capo of the local Department of Motor Vehicles? Can Arnold Schwarzenneger decide "I'm terminating the license of car 3VZX030 as he gets stuck in traffic?"

Or perhaps are there objective ways of determining and arbitrating licenses with facts and tribunals if there is a dispute? Even though it is a "privilege and not a right".

Venezuela and Exxon can litigate and arbitrate it fairly the normal way sensible people do.

Venezuela and Exxon can litigate and arbitrate it fairly the normal way sensible people do.

Sort of like the US Canada softwood dispute?

BTW: Looking for a link to something describing Softwood dispute I ran across this :

Bush 'Slush Fund,' Courtesy of Canada
Turning trade deal into Republican ammo?
Softwood deal pours $450 million straight into White House, says U.S. lawyer.

Can anyone add anything to this?

Both Brent and WTI have only blipped up slightly from their Friday close.

The European Stock Markets are having another case of indigestion. As I type, they are down a tad over 2% on average.

My guess is this is probably affecting the oil price as well.

They're up 1.8% (close to $1.70) going into the close.

Chavez could purchase the outstanding and unpaid settlements from the Exxon Valdez ($12B plus decades of interest) - probably at a good discount - seek triple damages for bad faith, and arrange for the repossession by the planet of all the assets of Exxon worldwide. That would be fun.

cfm in Gray, ME

I don't think its a big deal so far as oil is trading a few quarters up.

I was just talking about this issue last week, could Chavez drop the US and send oil to China?


There is no way President Bush (aka Diablo) would put a blockade on oil tankers going to China.
If that happened then it would show the US is owned by a COMPANY, and then Americans can see who they really are.

A power play is about to happen in the world, the North Sea looks to be of concern and could make the UK into a importer, and Chavez can use that as a tool, This would all go away if ExxonMobil would just give a better cut to Chavez.

US demand will need to be filled, but by who? Plus now we will hear a MAJOR push for going back to the North Slope of Alaska for oil, why? it's not worth it unless oil is about $250/barrel.

What a chess games this could turn out to be.

Chavez has already been making deals with China, and this spate with Exxon may just be the excuse he needs to send oil currently going to the US, to China - a country that passes no political judgement on other countries. If so, we'll lose our 4th largest oil importer. Just goes to show us that Peak Oil is changing the World landscape of power, and ours is waning.

Chavez is a fool.

In 1962, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1803, "Permanent Sovereignty over National Resources," which states that in the event of nationalization, the owner "shall be paid appropriate compensation in accordance with international law." In doing so, the UN rejected both the traditional Calvo-doctrinist view and the Communist view. The term "appropriate compensation" represents a compromise between the traditional views, taking into account the need of developing countries to pursue reform even without the ability to pay full compensation, and the Western concern for protection of private property.

That usually means appropriate compensation after litigation and arbitration.

If he 'retaliates' by cutting off oil Venezuela will lose the Citgo refineries, his biggest customer and if he loses the arbitration, he'll lose
under international law and the US will get the right to a naval blockade. Colombia hates him and Lula won't save him. The Venezuelans I've talked with think he's a dumb oaf.

I hope he does cut off the oil, 1.2 mbpd--<10% of US imports.
Because that will be the end of Hugo Chavez.
Also it might shake some sense into OPEC.

As the US and Israel have repeatedly shown, UN General Assemby Resolutions aren't worth a damn. And cleaarly, a great majority fo Venezuelans do NOT consider Chavez an "oaf". The days of the Piratical 7 Sisters and their sponsor governments are rapidly waning; they leave behind a poisoned planet--Every living thing carries within it introduced, unnatural chemicals, the wonderful product of "Progress Through Chemistry."

The huge externality bubble called Overshoot is now in the process of bursting, and the boom that was the Industrial Era will now experience its bust. What the world needs is 50+ Chavez telling the Empire to fuck-off-and-die.

What the world needs is 50+ Chavez telling the Empire to fuck-off-and-die.

The world definitely does NOT need that. Neither GWB nor Hugo Chavez are on the path towards solutions---they are both examples of problems.

BTW, Hugo Chavez does not appear to have any desire whatsoever to shut down his nationalized oil company in the name of depoisoning the planet.

"They are both examples of problems." Keen observation. Could be a great basis for a comparison/contrast essay.

That usually means appropriate compensation after litigation and arbitration.

You will get no traction with that argument here. People respond with "but oil companies have done bad things in the past, therefore they get what they deserve." Or better yet, how about this actual response: Robert, dont tell me about 'fair compensation' untill the US government and the US oil companies and United Fruit, Coca Cola, Pepsico, et al, compensate the peoples of SA for all the misery, poverty and ignorance that they have caused in those regions. I really don't think that's an argument that people want to get into here. What does Coca Cola have to do with any of this? Do those who favor this argument accept culpability for the actions of their neighbors? How about their relatives? Why not? Would they be willing to leave the U.S. because of the way it was taken from Native Americans? Again, why not if they expect XOM to be punished because of a broad class of past incidents of other corporations with various South American countries?

I hope he does cut off the oil, 1.2 mbpd--<10% of US imports.

That makes two of us. I really wish he would cut us off. It would hurt him, but might serve as a wake-up call in the U.S. about our level of dependence on oil.

our level of dependence on other countries' oil

Robert, dont tell me about 'fair compensation' untill the US government and the US oil companies and United Fruit, Coca Cola, Pepsico, et al, compensate the peoples of SA for all the misery, poverty and ignorance that they have caused in those regions.

oy, and likewise with that illogic, "we" can punish various South Americans (country unspecific) broadly and arbitrarily because of all those damn drugs?

What is with some people? Have they snorted the punk inverted version of the US right wing "American exceptionalism" BS, but the trope of this one is that the USA and its people are uniquely and profoundly far more wicked and all collectively guilty than anybody else?

No. Everybody's an ape deep down.

Yes, we are apes deep down, but we are also something else at the same time. Who knows what that is, really?

I actually have a very strong faith in American ideals -- just as I do in Christian ideals, -- and that is what makes me so point out the simple reality that American ideals and Christian ideals alike are being worn like a macabre disguise by those who trample them into a pile of dung.

American -- and indeed Western -- business is not separable from the economic and military Empire which has established it as an endlessly devouring monstrosity. The planet and the poor are all devoured at the point of a gun, as behind-the-scenes strings are pulled to support brutal killers -- Iran's Shah, Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Pakistan's Musharif, and so on.

Truly, Chavez is a powerful and frightening leader. He came from the street and went to a Catholic School where he learned Liberation Theology, much to the chagrin of America, the Euro-USA "developed nations," and the Pope. He was in the military.

This makes for a combination of characteristics that make him capable of much good and also of great harm. I do not doubt that he has been made angry and even cruel in his passion to defeat the American Empire. That does not bode well for him, for Venezuela, or for anyone else.

American business does not operate in a civil global environment of law and order. Rather, huge nations and blocs of nations with economic and military might generally have their way with nations who have less power. Contracts are established which are far more beneficial to one side than the other -- this is an old pattern.

American ideals -- and Christian ideals, and humanistic ideals -- are pretty well scrapped in the midst of all of this. We have managed to reduce ourselves pretty well to Killer Apes -- to borrow a term from Jay Hansen. We are Killer Apes with God-like technologies, rapacious primitive instincts, and strange, conflicting ideas and emotions that leave us spinning stories to try to justify ourselves to ourselves.

Robert, I certainly did make those comments about all the US corporations that you mentioned and I stand behind them. You sound like a neo-con defending the rapacious actions, past and present, of US corporations where ever they have ventured away from US shores because they didnt like the 2% they were making on their US investments but preferred the 6+% that they could reap in overseas ventures. When you say 'I really dont think thats an arguement that people want to get into here' I ask the obvious: Why not? No one will understand how we got where we are without understanding the history of US corporations abroad. Every time a US corporation goes abroad, foments a CIA backed revolution, then installs a US puppet regime, the corporation soon finds itself under attack by the native peoples that it is taking advantage of and stealing resources from. Then the US corporation calls for help from the Marines and the US Gov responds by sending them. The cost is born by the US taxpayers, the profits are reaped by the corporations. These corporate actions overseas are nothing but corporate welfare supported by the taxes of US Citizens, to the detriment of the countries that are being invaded by the Marines.

See: Marine General Smedley Butler, 'War Is A Racket'

US Corporate scoundrels have used SA, Cuba, Central America, and the Phillipines, et al, since 1898, to further Americas unique brand of Empire. If you know your history as you claim you will certainly recognize the following statement by George Kennan from 1948:
'U.S. State Department Policy Planning Study #23, 1948:
"Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity [U.S. military-economic supremacy].... To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming.... We should cease to talk about vague and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."
— George Kennan
Director of Policy Planning
U.S. State Department

You can also visit the site listed below to read about US sponsored terrorisim against Columbia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, British Guyana, and more.

You ask what Coca Cola has to do with any of this...check out this site, detailing the links between Coke, Castro, Batista, ADM, Nixon, JFK and many other players:

'Goizueta's father was a Cuban sugar plantation dictator. Cuba was the major source of cane sugar used in the cola drink. Because of the ferment for change, needed was a new front man in Cuba. Batista, and the mafia, and the wealthy criminal families sucking the sugar blood out of Cuba, had overplayed their hand. So the American CIA, with the help of their reputed Atlanta-based adjunct, The Coca-Cola Company, installed their darling, Fidel Castro, a popular hero. When, like Frankenstein's monster, he turned against his creators, they plotted to overthrow Castro and assassinate him'...snip...'Some would simplify this story by pointing to Coke trying to change over greatly to a diet cola, as a way of breaking loose of filling the void once supplied by Cuban cane sugar, against which there was a U.S. embargo. By the end of the 20th Century, the major player in supplying the chemical sweeteners for non-Diet Coke, was Archer-Daniels-Midland. At the time of Watergate, the head of ADM was to have been prosecuted for secret participation in Nixon's covert operations slush fund. Dwayne Andreas was too useful to the American CIA for them to allow him to be jailed. Like The Coca-Cola Company in the past, by 1999, ADM had an interest in putting their claws on Cuba. Through foreign subsidiaries, ADM had big investments in operating food refineries in Cuba, to exploit their agriculture abundance'...snip...

This is quite a read but nothing compared to the mechinations of United Fruit, the first true multinational. You might give the book 'Bananas' a read. I feel sure you must know who owned United Fruit and their connections to the very top at the CIA.

'Peter Chapman shows how the pioneering example of the importer United Fruit set the precedent for the institutionalized greed of today's multinational companies. The story has its source in United Fruit's nineteenth-century beginnings in the jungles of Costa Rica. What follows is a damning examination of the company's policies: from the marketing of the banana as the first fast food, to the company's involvement in an invasion of Honduras, a massacre in Colombia, and a bloody coup in Guatemala. Along the way the company fostered covert links with U.S. power brokers such as Richard Nixon and CIA operative Howard Hunt, manipulated the press (that later backfired), and stoked the revolutionary ire of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Chapman weaves a dramatic tale of big business, deceit, and violence to show how one company wreaked irrevocable havoc in the banana republics of Central America, and how terrifyingly similar the age of United Fruit is to our age of globilization.'

If you are setting yourself up as a defender of actions of US Corporations abroad (and at home) you really are way out on a limb, Robert...and as you continue to defend the scoundrels with obfuscation and attempt to derail the conversation with references to 'original Americans', I will continue to bring the true facts of corporate America to light...

You've only scratched the surface, of course. It is all such a sad, depressing history, expecialy when you pile on all the domestic injustices like the genocide against native americans, slavery & jim crow, etc., etc.

As an ordinary US citizen, I feel that I have no influence over this stuff (not to mention the things that happened before I was even born). I do believe, though, that anything we can do to shrink the power of big government and big corporations (both, not just one or the other) might make at least a marginal contribution toward de-fanging the beast.

One can do their part to shrink the power of big government by refusing to serve in the armed forces or the US civil service (state and local government are not the problem). (I do not mean to demean those that are serving or have served; I know that their service is well intentioned. But I fear that they have been misused and their good intentions abused.) Also, the chase after ever-bigger paychecks must be questioned, because those bigger paychecks mean bigger income taxes flowing to Washington. Downsizing and living frugally might be a more appropriate approach. Growing your own food, chopping your own wood, making your own things as much as possible is another way to remove yourself as much as possible from the money economy, thus starving the beast.

As for big corporations, again, one should refuse to be employed by them; why waste your life being used and abused by what are ultimately antisocial - if not criminal - psychopaths? And why contribute investment capital to fund their further expansion? There must be other places where one can invest one's savings than that giant Ponzi scheme called Wall Street. Finally, the comments above about living frugally and going DIY as much as possible also apply here - the less you buy from the big corporations, the more constrained their cash flow becomes. If you must buy something, try to patronize local independent businesses if at all possible.

I know that the above comments are going to make some people very angry. But I also know that the collective action (or rather, inaction) of "We the people of the United States of America" have managed to make a pretty large part of the entire human population extremely angry AT US.

You sound like a neo-con...

Sticks and stones. Communist. :-)

If you are setting yourself up as a defender of actions of US Corporations abroad (and at home) you really are way out on a limb, Robert

No, I don't own your broad brush. I prefer to speak to specifics, and not broad generalities. But since you are given to the latter, please answer the following questions. Are you a Caucasian living in North America? If so, do you acknowledge that your ancestors took this land in an unjust action from the native population? Therefore, what are you prepared to do for compensation? Will you give up your house to some of the descendents of the slaves? Or is your self-righteousness reserved for evil corporations? How much have you benefited from past injustices, and how far are you prepared to go to fix that?

Or how about this. You probably know people who have done wrong. Maybe your relatives. Would it be OK then for someone to steal your stuff and call it good? Why not? That is exactly what you are advocating with your arguments.

I will say again, though. I don’t care about ExxonMobil. But I do care about ConocoPhillips. We went down there, signed deals in good faith, invested in the country, and employed a lot of Venezuelans in the process. In return, Chavez seized several billion dollars of assets we had on the ground. It is certainly their right to nationalize, but that isn’t my complaint. If you do nationalize, the law says you have to compensate. Even if Coca Cola was a bad corporate citizen (or if your cousin is a thief).

I don’t care about ExxonMobil. But I do care about ConocoPhillips.

That too is a keeper ... feed us commie stooges, Robert, Feed us, LOL.

I don't know enough about the specifics to form a really solid opinion around any of this.

Let me play devils advocate and run with the analogy for a bit:

[edited to clarify]

If rich-guy's cousins and a couple of his brothers and an uncle and maybe a nephew or two had treated another, much poorer-family like crap for years, and if rich-dad (that'd be the govt) had always had a really swaggering tone about him that had made poor-family members alternate between feeling quite scared and quite pissed off a lot of the time...

When poor-dad from the poor-family finally learns to stand up to the rich-bullies, he might have developed a very broad brush indeed watching his family be treated badly over and over again, and the fact that the nicest in the rich-family-of-bullies gets lumped in with the worst is just one of those things.

It's not fair, but if someone comes from a family like that, and they want to avoid being tarred with the same brush, they have to disown and decry their family publicly, and that's more than most could do.

It's like someone from a gangster family getting murdered, it's hard to feel sorry for them - you might be close enough to know that this particular family member wasn't really all that bad, still pretty hard for anyone else to give a damn.

No, I am not a communist but a socialist in the tradition of some European countries and France (prior to their current PM).

I served four years in the US Military and took advantage of the GI bill to go to school so I too have fed at the trough.

I do not think that the injustices against all the peoples that the US Corporations, or the US Government, have wronged, can possibly be righted at this point. I am willing to contribute as much to the decendents of the wronged, per centage wise, as all Americans are willing to contribute. If all Americans will toss $2,000 or $10,000 into a collection, I will do likewise.

I believe that we all have relatives that have broken the law if we look back a few generations. I dont see what that has to do with the evil intentions of US Corporations in the past or today.

I did not know that you took a personal loss in Venesuela and my arguements against the policies of the US Gov and US Corps would not have been changed by your loss. I can only attempt to make you feel better about your loss by saying...tough shit.

If all Americans will toss $2,000 or $10,000 into a collection, I will do likewise.

Pretty safe business for the oak chest there, River:)

While we wander in the what-if department I figure that if everyone in the world would put their all into a common pot that would be not too shabby an idea. Maybe then take another shot at:

" From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!" (Louis Blanc).

Corporations are grasping at peak complexity, so it looks like capitalism will not be with us all that much longer; big question is where things go from there ... anarchy, or something in between anarchy and the little cottage in the woods ... hmmm possibly we'll just do good old plain Jane chaos?

I do not think that the injustices against all the peoples that the US Corporations, or the US Government, have wronged, can possibly be righted at this point. I am willing to contribute as much to the decendents of the wronged, per centage wise, as all Americans are willing to contribute. If all Americans will toss $2,000 or $10,000 into a collection, I will do likewise.

What a bloody stupid policy. So do I have to pay money for the white in me or do I get money for the native american in me?

Naw, they apply the Wisdom of Solomon to wiseacres like you:)

Robert, I understand what you are saying. But I think this whole affair is just one more illustration of the reality that if the US repeatedly sews injustice in its dealings around the world, it really should not be surprised if it reaps injustice in return. Furthermore, we should not be surprised if injustice itself falls upon its victims in an unjust, arbitrary manner.

The unrighteousness of our imperialist and corporatist machinations around the world do not become us as a nation and a people.

Has anybody here read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"?

I have had the pleasures of his personal oratory skills--
Great book.

Robert, I think you slightly misunderstand me and maybe some others -- and I have somewhat misunderstood you as well.

I agree that this situation is bad. I feel like those who will lose are the folks who "own" stock in the affected companies as a part of their retirement or whatever. Somehow, I think that the top dogs at the companies involved will escape financially unscathed, even though they will lose on paper. They'll find ways to make it up in "the golden parachute" or through some accounting games, or whatever.

I also do not advocate that we try to go back though history to right all the wrongs done by governments, corporations, or individuals.

I do truly find it ironic that large corporations are crying and playing the victim when it is abundantly clear (River posted some good links, as have a couple of others) that our current so-called capitalism and so-called free market have become rapacious in character. This is not your fault or mine, but there we are, in my opinion.

If you can pick up a copy of Joel Bakan's "The Corporation" it is worth a good read -- not too long of a book, and well written as well as insightful.

Bakan is a lawyer and is touted as a recognized expert in corporate and Constitutional law in Canada, IIRC. He has interviewed CEO's and scholars and economists of all kinds to get at what is going on in our culture, and he finds that we are cultivating a psychopathic model of corporate behavour which is very disturbing. In my opinion we are cultivating this kind of predatory model in corporate and government leadership as well.

Chavez and GWB both reflect strong elements of this kind of leadership, and the current conflict between oil companies and Chavez seem to me to be symptomatic of this. Both sides cry victim, pay people to make them look good, seduce and manipulate the masses with propaganda, and both sides are pulling us further down the road of ecological plunder, economic rapine, and military conflict.

It is important to realize that while various corporations do operate independently, they share and create a cultural climate that can be healthy or toxic. We cannot separate the continued "Indian Wars" in Iraq from the "Indian Wars" carried out a bit differently in Central and South America.

Corporations cannot benefit from an economic and increasingly military Empire that backs them up and at the same time wash their hands of the crimes committed -- economic and military -- which set the stage for greater and greater violence as people feel excluded and abused by the Empire.

Please also check out the work of Chalmers Johnson -- another very well respected writer who is now quite elderly, but writing some of the most important comments about foreign policy I've ever read.

His book "Blowback" is a good place to start, but "The Sorrows of Empire" and "Nemesis: The Last Days of The American Republic" are superb and bring his critique up to the present day.

Wiki has a fairly decent page on Johnson:

Alternet has a good link list of articles by Johnson here:

Robert -- we come from very different places in life, but I do want to try to communicate respectfully. Life has been bleak for me lately -- many sub-zero days, financial stresses, depression about the future, the works. One of my nephews was fighting in the USMC in Iraqi "Injun Country" (yes, that's one of the "nicer" terms for it) and is stateside and bears what are likely to be permanent and terrible consequences of his experience there.

BTW, I read recently that US military suicides are at record levels. Some soldiers commit suicide rather than go back to commit more futile atrocities in the line of duty.

I have no doubt that our own government continues to work very hard to establish a terrible and Saddam-like corrupt regime in Venezuela, just to make life easier for various oil companies take the resources at fire-sale prices. This has been true for quite some time. The "Indian War" looks different in Venezuela than it does in Iraq, but it is still the same war fought for the benefit of the same economic actors. Even so, the Chavez regime has, I'll bet, plenty of corruption and oppression happening now.

I hope that a peaceful settlement can be reached, but this public posturing and the self-righteous tone of all the actors involved has made me quite bitter, and so I've let that color my posts here.

I have very little hope for my children. We are making the planet hotter and dimmer and more violent and chaotic. The well-placed business "gentlemen" of our age turn out to be psychopaths who devour but are never, never satisfied. They torment those who are less fortunate.

It turns out that the future looks more like Dante's Inferno than it does the eerie,Disneyesque propaganda of 1950's American Petroleum Institute, let alone the strange madness that passes for political campaigns in the USA today.

Even so, I soldier on, believing that I have a peaceful fight to fight.

My apologies for taking Chavez's side rather than parsing this out more carefully in previous posts. "Bad pressure coming down...tears are what we really traffic in."

The way Robert is arguing is the way people argue when they have been accustomed to lots and lots of deference and then suddenly they meet defiance.
If Chavez can back up even a little of his rhetoric Robert and Conoco get to eat s**t.

Too bad if they're used to eating better.
Arguing as if you're still in charge when you're not only hastens and deepens the fall.

The worst Robert or Conoco or George Bush can possibly do is send Venezuela back to where it's always been. Back to what they've always known. Back to what they deep down expect.

So the gambler, Chavez, rolls the dice and goes for broke. Why does anyone expect him to be a slick or subtle player? He didn't go to Harvard Law. He's never been at a casino with even one slightly level table where the high-rollers get a somewhat fair game. He's shooting craps in a back alley and Robert's fine sensibilities are misplaced.

Not to mention that after signing contracts Conoco and XOM aided coup plotters.

The way Robert is arguing is the way people argue when they have been accustomed to lots and lots of deference and then suddenly they meet defiance.
If Chavez can back up even a little of his rhetoric Robert and Conoco get to eat s**t.

No, Robert is simply arguing from the perspective of someone who has been robbed. Much the same as you would if someone broke into your house and stole your things. After all, as I have pointed out you would have no grounds to complain, as I am sure your friends or relatives have been involved in no-good. Therefore, if someone steals from you, it's all good.

Not to mention that after signing contracts Conoco and XOM aided coup plotters.

One thing I have long argued against here is evidence-free claims. It seems that some think the claim is the evidence. But please, feel free to post any evidence that COP ever participated in any coup against Chavez. Funny that he would sign contracts with them in 2003 and again in 2005 (see link above) if they did. Don't you think? Or is Saint Chavez free to tear up contracts he himself has signed, because, you know, other companies did bad things at various times in South America?

PdVSA is already facing chronic maintenance problems at its conventional oil refineries, and the other companies' Orinoco heavy-crude upgrading plants involve far more specialized technology, much of which was developed on site over the past decade.

Analysts said PdVSA will have trouble maintaining the same operating standards without enough specialized personnel, and production could decline over the medium term.

This could have led Conoco to think it has increased negotiating power over PdVSA in the final stages of contract talks.

It looks from this from Rigzone that Conoco overplayed its hand and has run home to mama.

BTW Robert why are you speaking from the third person when the Royal We is so much more impressive, of course it does fit what seems to be the Conoco style here. To beat that one to death with a stick, you could go all the way there and replace the R with a W.

It looks from this from Rigzone that Conoco overplayed its hand and has run home to mama.

You have confused Conoco with ExxonMobil. Conoco didn't have their assets frozen, ExxonMobil did. Conoco is discussing a settlement with Chavez - a much larger settlement than XOM will be getting. XOM is looking at a settlement of well less than a billion. COP's seized assets were in the multi-billion range. If he won't pay for the assets WE have on the ground there, then it will be settled - almost certainly in OUR favor - in arbitration. After all, Chavez also tore up contracts that his own government signed. People here can't understand that what he did was the equivalent of Bush seizing Toyota's auto plants in the U.S.

If he won't pay for the assets WE have on the ground there, then it will be settled - almost certainly in OUR favor - in arbitration.

In arbitration and in YOUR favour! So what the hell is your complaint then?

So what the hell is your complaint then?

Oh, I have a few. One is the fact that he tore up contracts that he himself signed. Another is that we wasted a lot of money and a lot of manpower down there that we could have deployed elsewhere. Another is that he refused to compensate - even though we had borrowed money to invest in his country - and we had to file for arbitration. Another is that people feel like it is OK to personally attack me for speaking out over something that I think is simple theft. Yet another is that people want to paint with such a broad brush that they don't see a problem with Chavez seizing someone else's assets. After all, Coca Cola ripped someone off in Chile 30 years ago, so all South American leaders get a free pass if they take foreign property. Nobody has shown that ConocoPhillips ever did anything wrong in Venezuela. But they will stand up and cheer and say "Yeah, Chavez. You showed them."

You say all will be your game in arbitration and then you come back again screeching theft, why not try the Canadian/US softwood dispute on for size, then I'll worry me about your petty corporate whining.

I dearly would love to have a Chavez for Prime minister up here to stand up to bullies instead of the likes of the rather discredited ex PM Mulroney who surrendered control of Canadian Energy to US interests.

that people feel like it is OK to personally attack me for speaking out over something that I think is simple theft

As far as a personal attack, if you are referring to my comments ... they are done in fun (maybe not for you) and maybe to get a rise out of you, so you'll speak your mind more clearly. As far as you personally? Strange as you might find it I rather like you, but think you are wearing a somewhat black hat in your defense of corporate interests over the interests of nations, especially the poor, small and set upon for ages ones.

I also think you rather like standing all jutty jawed on the mountain top with all us left wing rabble barking their heads off at you:)

I also think you rather like standing all jutty jawed on the mountain top with all us left wing rabble barking their heads off at you:)

You don't seem to understand that I am pretty left wing myself. But to me this is just an issue of theft, and doesn't depend on which wing I hang out in. (Actually, I hang out in the vicinity of the left wing, but not all the way down at the end).

Let's make it personal. Your cousin Ralph goes down to Venezuela on vacation. He is investing a little in the local economy, and generally being a good guest. One day, he is robbed of his possessions and tossed out of the country. Did Ralph get what he deserved? According to your argument - and those who have taken the same line of argumentation - he sure did. Because after all, it is just payback for what those "other people" have done down there. Ralph's rights don't matter in that context.

Hi Robert,

I think I did say 'somewhat darkened hat'?

Is that the cousin Ralph who still owes me 4000 bucks bail money.

I think you confuse Ralph with a corporation, I realize that somehow the judicial system, in their wisdom, have decided that the two are equal before the law, but I think the Judge when he got hold of Ralph found it easier to make him squirm and set large bail than he would have been able to do with a corporation.

In your case of Ralph, that if there were no discussion and he just got turfed out, I would agree, despite how I consider him a dead beat, he would be hard done by. Your corporation Conoco on the other hand will prosper as you indicate: If he won't pay for the assets WE have on the ground there, then it will be settled - almost certainly in OUR favor - in arbitration.

On this:

Another is that we wasted a lot of money and a lot of manpower down there that we could have deployed elsewhere. Another is that he refused to compensate - even though we had borrowed money to invest in his country - and we had to file for arbitration.

I think this could be classified under the heading of RISK and the COST of doing business, much like the RISK Canada took in signing NAFTA and the COST needing to deal with the arbitrariness of US actions in the above mentioned Softwood dispute.

Last time someone broke into my house I made him breakfast. He was hungry.

Getting all high-handed with people who think of YOU as the thief is not much of a negotiating tactic.

Your wounded moral superiority is comical.

Getting all high-handed with people who think of YOU as the thief is not much of a negotiating tactic.

Your wounded moral superiority is comical.

Yeah, I guess I am funny that way. Since we actually signed contracts with Chavez, and then borrowed money to put infrastructure in the ground, I guess I should just laugh it off when he decided to take that infrastructure. After all, the history of the region and such. We would probably all do the same if we were robbed at gunpoint in South America. After all, who are we to complain after all of the injustice? The specifics of any one case are not important in the grand scheme of injustice, so really we should just come out and say that Americans simply give up their rights when they travel to South America. Or for that matter, anywhere else that injustice has taken place.

Do you also approach engineering problems from a Manichaean perspective? I doubt it.

Think it through because you are only digging a deeper hole.

So sorry if the rhetoric used on this page has been upsetting. Why not take the responses here as data points and input, even if you disagree with everything that has been said?

I have been at gunpoint (not in South America) more than a few times. Force and bluster and outrage is beside the point in that circumstance.

I understand your point, old hippie.

We will all be eating much lower on the food chain soon.

I am a relatively poor man by USA standards, but I am a relatively rich man by world standards. This makes me complicit in the system that gave me my relative wealth. Trying to change the system is not easy -- maybe not possible. I find that straight talk tempered with careful reasoning does help to make positive chage.

I too am angry at the particular imperialist mindset that has helped to bring our species to a terrible place, but how can we talk about this without words that cut off the conversation?

Robert has made some good points about the specifics of this situation, as have others. It would be good for a peaceful and equitable settlement to be reached.

We do know that covert operations abound to support imperial business policies -- River quoted from the infamous Dean Acheson regarding this. Many scholars of US history have pointed to the same document as critical for understanding post WW II history, but very few people understand how crucial the soft and hard power of the USA has been in shaping a global empire which is now crumbling.

Chalmers Johnson has done a superb job in surveying post WW II history in light of the very, very militaristic corporatism of the USA.

My grandfather who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a decorated war veteran used to tell me that the fascists won that war. There were fascists on both sides of the fight, fusing militarism with politics with corporate leadership.

That fascist fusion has long been completed. We now face the consequences, and I do not see TPTB taking a good, peaceful way out.

A good US administration would have tried to engage Chavez as positively as possible all along, and would even now be extending the olive branch to try to encourage positive negotiations

Chavez is right to be angry at the imperialism directed at him personally, and at Latin America and Venezuela. We Americans have been comfortable and insulated in our "intentional ignorance" and let matters come to a pass where growing violence may not be averted.

My guess is that the Neocons -- who always encourage conflict -- want this to result in violence in order to ratchet up the global violence already underway. This is a part of a global resource war, after all.

Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" and Naomi Wolf's "The End of America" point out how the Neocons actually desire more and more conflict in order to impose as much shock as possible on various parts of the world. This is a control technique that justifies increasing use of force. This application of force is then used to radically reshape entire economies -- ultimately it must be used on a global basis.

Rumsfeld was not kidding when he declared that the USA intends "full spectrum global dominance."

Chavez -- and many others -- are angry and ready to fight to the death against the Corporatist Neocon agenda which has overtaken our nation.

Unfortunately, many people still operate under the assumption that international business operates on a level playing field, and with civil agreements arrived at without coercion.

Meanwhile, Russia and China play the same game.


It is gratifying to be understood.
Robert is an interesting person for having the ability to engage in this dialog at all. Unfortunately he is blindered this time. We all are at times.
Changing the subject completely -- have you any thoughts on bakfietsen? If not familiar Many links.

ah, Bakfiets! Yes, this is something we can probably all agree that we need more of.

I'd like to see more of these -- and domestically made bikes and trikes like them.

More of these would definitely reduce international tensions.

That makes two of us. I really wish he would cut us off. It would hurt him, but might serve as a wake-up call in the U.S. about our level of dependence on oil.

Let me run a "what if" scenario by you. What if instead of cutting off US exports and find an alternate buyer he were to just take say 20% of his production off the market. He keeps claiming that there are other nations who are willing to go to bat with him on something like this. If that is true, and they also are willing to take 20% of their prduction off the market, is that really going to hurt any of them or will the resulting spike in oil prices make up for the lost production? It stands to reason that if you can meet your revenue goals by selling 1.8 million barrels per day at $100, then you should be able to meet them selling 900K per day at $200.

One thing that I think everybody can agree on is that the correlation between supply, demand, and prices is not a linear one. It seems to take a relatively small fluctuation in supply to create a large spike in prices. Add in the "fear factor" (if they took down 20% of their production, they may take down another 20%....) and such a move could turn out to be a financial boon for oil producing nations everywhere could it not?

"Lula won't save him."

I am not that certain that he wouldn't try.

Hightrekker is either an ignorant sod, or is being deliberately misleading.
The Exxon deal was revised and approved, not by some former government of Venezuela but by the Chavez government,and thus by Chavez himself, given the importance of the deal for Venezuela.
Thus Chavez was breaking the contract that he had made with the oil companies, including Exxon.
I understand that Total and others would have taken the stance that Exxon took, but that their governments, because of other businesss they do with the Chavez regime and because of other investments made in Venezuela, pressured them into accepting Chavez's breaking of contracts.
I have no particular love of Exxon, but in this case they are right and Chavez is wrong.
As to Venezuela and Chavez, the relationship is over, finished, kaput, dead, and it is only a matter of time before, either he suspends the electoral process because he is feeling the wrath of his own supporters due to his abysmal mismanagement of the economy ( some city and state elections are due this november ) probably by creating a crisis, either with Columbia or Guyana and claiming an emergency, or he loses power constitionally in 2012 (?) because he cannot run a third time.
Chavez lost the referendum he organized a few months back that would have allowed him to run a third time, even losing support in the poorest neighbourhoods which are his bailiwicks.
He had done some good for the poorest, and i don't question his good intentions, but he has been a disaster, the economy is getting worse by the day, inflation is so bad that the U.S. dollar is a coveted currency in Caracas !!!!!, and even the poorest seem to have seen the light.

The CIA Factbook estimates real GDP growth at 8.3% for Venezuela.

[deleted] Note to Tan though, could you please reply inside the subthread?

Exxon came into Venezuela under under "Apertura Petrolera" before Chavez was elected.
They were essentially a Neo-liberal client state at the time. Do your home work.

Jerome - I gather that PDVSA (the Venezuelan state oil co) held exploration and production interests overseas and it is these "assets" that Exxon has had frozen. This may seem a fair quid pro quo. But the wisdom of Exxon and the US government playing tough bully with Chavez is questionable. This is a tried and tested approach that has proven time and again to fail.

All oil companies know that they are running a risk in exploring for oil on foreign soil. Encana provides an interesting example. A number of years back they recognised these risks and withdrew from virtually all activities overseas - amongst other things they sold their stake in the Buzzard Field in the UK - and they withdrew from Ecuador, several months before assets were seized in that country. This IMO is good risk management.

So my point is this. Exxon is fully aware of the risks they run and that the rule of law as they know it does not rule everywhere. Thus, if they want to avoid confiscation of assets by foreign governments they should simply sell up or withdraw from those countries where their assets are at risk.

BrianT, lets have the whole truth.
The cia suggests that Venezuela had 8% growth last year because of high oil prices - gosh, is that the work of Chavez, here i thought it was supply and demand.
They also mention the strike that crippled the energy industry and ended in '03; part of the recovery from that strike is still reflected in the '07 figure for gnp growth that you quoted. If you know beans about the oil industry, and especially about the heavy oil sector, you'ld understand that it can take a long time to bring every well back to production, or drill new wells to substitute for those that can't be recovered.
Venezuela will likely have 40 % inflation this year, the economy is in a mess, and now, even those who did benefit from Chavez, the ultra poor, are turning against him.
It is a tragedy for Venezuela. The danger right now is that the auther of that tragedy, Chavez, a truly delusional character, will make things much worse before he goes down to defeat, possibly by starting a conflict with one of his neighbours.
Anyway, put down the books, get on a plane, and go look at the chaos for yourself.
Btw, anything you take along will be much appreciated, from toothpaste to toilet paper, from milk to aspirin. Even coffee is often not available, in Venezuela !!!!!

Let me reported on Fox? I dont suppose you would care to back any of your claims about a shortage of coffee or toothpaste in Venesuela with links?


You know, Google will answer your question immediately:

Further, if you study the issue, Venezuela has been experiencing various shortages since 2002. There are literally pages and pages of results if you search for "shortage Venezuela" and begin to sift through them.

Finally, the existence of a shortage doesn't make tan correct. It simply supports an argument but that argument can still fail due to other considerations. If you are going to attack tan's argument then attack it, not call into question facts that are already verified.

Grey: The place has strong GDP growth and they are paying down their debt. The place was never Switzerland-if it had been, Hugo would never have been elected.

Sigh from me as well...Lets see, how many US States have experienced shortages at gas stations in 2007-2008?...And, from these gas shortages can we jump to the conclusion that the President of the US is about to be overthrown? I think not.

In spite of all actions taken by the Fed, Treasury, and talking heads on every MSM channel the US economy continues headed downhill at a rapid clip and service sector jobs were down sharply at last report. Tell me more about the problems the Venesuelan economy is having?...As if we have none of our own?

When the power to consume is eroded from the US economy there will be lots of shortages here as well...People are and will be going hungry, people will be desperate for any sort of job, investors/savers/retirees will feel the pain. There might be lots of items for sale on the shelves of stores but how many will be able to afford them? Will these factors show up on Google in statistical form (and not bs bls, labor and Fed inflation stats)? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps Venesuela still reports factual statistics vice the bs dreamland stats published by various US Gov agencies.

There was no "strike" in 2003. It was a lock out by foreign technocrats controlling production.
Venezuelans were quite willing to work.
Really, do you all get your information from World Nut Daily?
Friends just returned from Venezuela, and traveled extensively--
The report none of your findings-- I'm seeing them tonight, and probe further.
I know the to[p 20% may need to sell the second Mercedes, but, shit happens.

Given XOM's EXTREMELY bad faith in Exxon Valdez claims (real damage did result to innocent parties), and their financing GW deniers, I have zero sympathy for any troubles they have elsewhere.

I would like to see an agreed upon settlement $, PVDSA then buys that face amount of Exxon Valdez claims at a discount (say 10% or 25% of face for long suffering claimants) and presents these, at face value, as "payment".


Robert is upset that he's "lost money" on this deal - he has a personal stake....a dog in the fight.

You've wanted to see government money pour into New Orleans to fix up the place - somewhere where you have a personal stake....a dog in the fight.

Neither situatuation has an open, transparent accounting/process or access to proven fair courts. Perhaps fighting for better courts and open transactions would be a better course of action than standing about going 'I want mine'.

I suspect that Robert might vote against US entry into the World Court and I suspect that if that venue were used to settle the dispute between EOM and Venesuela a fair outcome might be obtained.

Can we please *NOT* make this personal!!!

You have to realize that for a certain proportion of posters, I am ExxonMobil. I am the face of Big Oil. I am the rich, elite oil baron who has enriched myself on the back of poor peasants and the environment. Troops were sent into Iraq on my behalf. This is the lens they see me through. For them, anything they say to me is OK, because after all, look what I have done.

You should see some of the hate mail I get. I finally turned one guy in to law enforcement after he started making comments about my wife and kids.

RR -- as I posted above, I'd like to keep the conversation going.

Thanks for not just pulling completely out of the conversation due to personal attacks.

I do not disrespect you personally, even if I have some strong convictions about the larger "system" (non-system?) we operate within.

If yo have time to read my long post above, I do think that it will provide food for thought, and the topic is worth that.

Meanwhile, I still hope that a reasoned and reasonable solution can be found with this Chavez vs Conoco thing.

One thing that reminds me that we're in this together is that a couple of my longest-term clients are elderly people who rely on their life-long investments to pay me. I -- and they -- can still critique the system and call for radical change, I acknowledge that I benefit from it even while working for change.

Chavez is not all good or bad, nor is "Big Oil," nor am I.

I do not believe that small countries play on a level playing field with big corporations, and we will have to face the consequences of the way "Big Corporations" have knit together with "Big Government" in a militaristic Corporatism. This will not be easy on any of us.

I think that no one holds a winning combination of soft/hard power any more. We either learn to play a new game, or we all lose at playing the old "Killer Ape" game.

We actually need to all do a lot of listening to get from here to there.

Thanks for not just pulling completely out of the conversation due to personal attacks.

If you want to know the kind of stuff I get to endure on a regular basis, look no further than the comment just left on my blog:

Or how about this one, where he thinks my family is fair game:

I have deleted much worse from him. Now, that is an extreme case, and most of them aren't that bad, but I get similar e-mails on a fairly regular basis. Some people act like they are just dealing with an inanimate object, I suppose. They behave in ways they would never behave in person. But it's OK, because I work for an oil company. I grew up dirt poor, on a farm in Oklahoma, but now I am one of the oppressors. Imagine that someone comes out of a Caracas slum, puts themself through college, makes good grades, gets a good job, and suddenly they are turned upon because now they are one of "them."

Robert, it is difficult to know where to start.

This thing with Chavez and Exxon and Conoco has touched a raw nerve with so many people.

Some people see the End Of The World and are full of rage and fear and so really lash out at those who they see as the proximate cause of the Apocalypse.

I have bad news. This will not be getting any better soon.

At a time when we need to combine passion and wisdom in cooperative efforts, too many folks will polarize into cult-like sub-cultural tribes. Some of these tribes are "Doomers" of various stripes while others develop variations on the "We Will Carry On Business As Usual."

Business As Usual is not an option. The world has drunk its fill of injustices, and now that we are overpopulated we have less room to maneuver as we compete for too few resources.

Those who have little and truly feel that they have been unjustly excluded by those who have much will make this an issue. there are righteous voices of prophetic critique that must be heeded now -- or else the consequences will be disastrous for all. Chalmers Johnson is one who ought to be top-priority reading for folks at Exxon and Conoco.

Business As Usual does not operate in a vacuum. The abuses of soft and hard power are all too real, and have now produced fruit. Chavez is not so much righteous as he is a mirror image of what we have become, as embodied in the Bush administration.

Conoco and Exxon can complain ad infinitum that they did no wrong, but one has to be pretty credulous to think that the corporate leadership is not linked to any number of atrocities in the minds of many people in Venezuela, and around the world. If this is hard to understand, then pick up a copy of "Blowback" for a fast read. Follow that with "The Sorrows of Empire" ASAP.

The world in which we do business is shaped by peaceful and violent forces, and the use of violence has been great on the part of the USA, and is increasingly greatly as the resource war intensifies.

"We are in a time of war," intoned Mr. Romney recently, and he meant it, and the folks who made note of his comments believe that we are fighting for our very lives against the Evildoers who happen to inconveniently occuppy the soil atop our oil. Like it or not, these are the folks so very closely identified with Exxon and Conoco -- whether wanted or not! "With friends like that...."

Many who decry this situation believe that someone as sharp minded as yourself can only not see the resource war and your role in it through intentional ignorance.

You continue to defend Conoco as a discrete business entity with very definite, legally described rights and responsibilities. Understand that as long as that image suits TPTB (for now your "dear friends" Bush and Cheney), it is fine. But -- as in Iraq -- as soon as these kind of convenient and civil conventions no longer suit TPTB, the contracts are torn up and a whole new oil policy is pushed through in a country taken by brutal force and occupied and so on and so forth.

No matter how well-behaved Conoco has been in Venezuela, too many people (here and there, likely) see it as suspect by being associated with those who do not behave well at all, and in fact who commit crimes against humanity in what is clearly a fight for control of the world's oil resources.

Does that help at all to see why some people see you and your oil company -- almost any oil company -- as intertwined with Bechtel, Haliburton, The Neocons, The War On Iraq, The War Against Islam, and every single monster dictator ever supported by the CIA from Panama to Iran to Indonesia?

You really must know by now that this is not going to go away. This is more than a public relations problem. There is a collective weight of guilt -- real guilt, not shame -- that starts real close to source of the crimes against humanity that have been committed by our particular American Empire and radiates out from there.

We all share in this collective thing -- it is like karma. Those closer to the center bear more of it no matter how good or bad they are. People intuitively know that "Big Oil," for lack of a better term, is real close to the source of these crimes.

BTW -- have you seen "Syriana"? That might help to understand how people see "you", as well.

Sorry Robert but this is simply a case of those who view the US as the evil imperialist power getting its own and multinational corporations and evil entities capable of no good.

This is a clash of ideology, and a thing as simple as theft isn't going to be a compelling argument when it flies in the face of a prefered worldview.

It seems that many posters simply want to punish XOM for being evil. That's not justice; you have to give the devil his due.

Now, I have to admit that I do own some XOM stock so I have an interest in Chavez's expropriation of (my) money.

The solution is for wealthy Chavez to pay the XOM the fair price. That is abhorent to marxists like Chavez who believe that 'property is theft'.

Of course, if that is true then everybody's a thief and there is no law
except the law of the jungle.

But whenever an American corporation wants to be a thief, its pet President sends the CIA or Marines to overthrow a government, on the grounds that our nation's security requires us to operate on the law of the jungle. You can't deny that's happened in Iran, Guatemala, and many other places.

This event has exposed the strange thing about The Oil Drum: its readership consists of both paleocons who attack the liberal-capitalist-globalist model from the Right, and people like me who attack it from the Left. But when it comes to the blame of private property in creating this economic model, we instantly fall upon each other like cats and dogs.

As for Venezuela, why aren't we discussing the conditions of the poor pre-Chavez? That reflects the truth of the monstrous nature of the private property owners all over Latin America: they don't consider the poor to be fellow citizens, but merely animals.

I state it here and will state it at my treason trial: when the owners of a society think the poor are a subhuman race, the poor have no choice but revolution, regardless of the consequences. That overrides all laws, rights and liberties, because if I am not a human being, there is no limit to what crimes can be committed against me by organized wealth. It is exactly as if my nation has been conquered by a foreign invader. I will lie, cheat, murder and sign and betray contracts to bleed an invader to death, and so should any patriot. By adopting this belief in their genetic supremacy and immunity to sovereignity, the rich declare themselves as foreigners, occupying my country. We saw this bigotry among the czars and the Chinese feudalists, and I think the vast and growing inequality built into the nature of capitalism is causing it to spread all over the Western world, and its behemoth corporations who ally with the owners of Latin America. I even see that attitude on this site, expressed as a supposedly regretful call for triage of the post-Peak (coincidentally dark-skinned) unworthy.

That is the law of the jungle. There's not enough room for everybody to live like human beings post-Peak, and all our ideologies are cynical preparations for triage. Fine. I'd rather destroy the human race than see the white Christian capitalists whose greed made triage necessary emerge as its only survivors.

You're quite the humanitarian!

All XOM is asking for is fair payment and you want to destroy the human race to save IT from White People. which I mean, the right to get stuck in traffic in one's SUV(either in New York or Caracas).

Man, you seriously need professional help.

I don't want to be ruled by Huey Long-retread Chavez, I want liberty or death. But because I'm not a businessman, I'm not allowed to define liberty.

If, as many people on this site believe, we are headed for the collapse of the global economy and a mass dieoff, then we are headed toward the naked resumption of slavery, with the usual wealthy suspects grasping the whip.

How many white Christian property owners, Confederates, Hooverites, Reaganites, Bushites, Paulites, etc, etc, have proudly proclaimed that they would die to avoid becoming "slaves"? Yet the only real slavery ever seen in America has been that controlled by and profiting white Christian property owners. It's only wrong when socialized tyranny is applied to those obviously superior people on top. When the ongoing failure, perpetually microanalyzed at TOD, of the entire system of which America and Exxon are the top actors requires that everybody BUT America and Exxon must suffer, that smacks of slaveowners' logic.

The entire rationale and justification of that system and its vast inequalities is Progress. If Progress is going in reverse, which in many ways it has since Reagan was elected, and every single brand of its dominant conservatism worships the unjust past in different ways, then I have no future but slavery or extermination by elite-controlled triage. The entire premise of Peak Oil is that there may be no second chance, no reconstruction, no compensation for all us suckers who believed in capitalism. A Gucci in the face forever.

This is why I believe that extinction is better than a world where the bad guys and their cowardly, lying descendants got away forever with the ultimate crime, truly beyond Satan or Hitler's wildest fantasies. There is something worse than death.

Very well stated, Super390.

Hello TODers,

I think as our Thermo/Gene world fractures into full-blown Dieoff: there will be plenty of scope for white Americans and Europeans to be enslaved, both internal to North America and Europe/Russia, and externally in other parts of the world--IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE! [teaser excerpts below, but I prefer you read the link]:
...According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by pirates and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th century. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and from more distant places like France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Iceland and North America...

...Even the United States was not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793...

...The United States Marine Corps actions in these wars led to the line "to the shores of Tripoli" in the opening of the Marine Hymn. Due to the hazards of boarding hostile ships, Marines' uniforms had a leather high collar to protect against cutlass slashes. This led to the nickname Leatherneck for U.S. Marines.[14]...
We don't think about the geo-source nationality of our energy slaves when we flip a lightswitch or fill a gastank-- I daresay that most postPeak elites will careless about the native origin of their human slaves. If your future enslaved children or grandchildren have a low productive ERoEI-- they will be discarded as easily as yesterday's coffee grounds. Recall my earlier postings on the modern Navy as the future pirate ships and the coming struggles for global control of the depleting P & K mines.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, I enjoy reading your posts. Dont let a Crude from Kansas get you down. Last book I read about Kansas was entitled 'Whats the Matter with Kansas'...The book ended without conclusion. :)

When Napoleon took Malta, he free 600 Arab slaves. The Bey of Tunis was so surprised and overjoyed that a European could be civilised that he freed all the Christian slaves in Tunis. All sixty of them. The Arabs would cheerfully have taken more European slaves if they had had any wood to build ships with but they had to rely on the infrequent chance to capture one.
Oh yeah, the first eight slaves in New York city were Morrocan. Taken off a fishing boat by a British ship and sold to the Dutch. That was back when New York was still run by the Dutch.

These daily tirades are becoming increasingly tiresome. Could you please find another board to prothelytize to? Obviously to your way of thinking anyone whom does not live in abject poverty is captilist scum guilty of exploiting there fellow humans. Slavery has been a mistake utilized by most "civilizations" if you wish to use that term. To blame the U.S. for all the world's problems is rediculous do we have some guilt... sure. By now anyone reading the Drumbeat on even a semi regular basis is familiar with your positions as they are articulated daily.
To those that continue to delude themselves about Chavez and give him Cred for not going beserk after he lost the Presidential priviledge for life please do some more research. Articles linked here on Drumbeat indicated he wanted to invalidate the election but the head of the army said no! You have to live with what the people voted. He is the one that deserves the Cred, Chavez is a spoiled punk that merely buys the votes he gets with Venezuela's magnificent fossil fuel wealth. His world is starting to unravel I think he can self destruct without any help from us he is fully capable on his own.

You better learn to pucker those lips, as you will be needing to kiss a picture of Lord Hugo's ass before filling up the SUV-Truck. That is, after bowing toward Caracas.----

Exxon and its apologists math:

$750 million = $12 billion.

Use of the word "fair" in this context is pure newspeak.

If the American government and American corps are the authors of so much wrong doing in Venezuela then why were some of the expropriated oil companies in Venezuela not American?

Why didn't we just block out the competition using our Imperial power?

Why did Chavez steal the property of non-American corps?

This might be slightly off topic, but I was randomly looking through an old Geographic (I think 1975 or thereabouts) which had an article on Alaska, about the pipeline etc... And on the map, west of Prudhoe Bay was a huge area designated as something like: "US Naval Strategic Petroleum Reserve". It looks like a huge area. Does anyone know much about this? is it like the US Navy/military is keeping specific oil producing areas untapped, so that when things get a lot worse, they will have oil resources available only to them?
Thanks for any info.

That's ANWR, if I'm not mistaken.

Wonder why we have not heard from any Venezuelan's, if you are out their speak up. I’m tired of reading all these second hand “facts?”.

This is a chain email sent to me by my concerned aunt:

Gasoline News

Verified with SNOPES


Have you noticed how the CITGO signs have disappeared in the past 7-8 months? Very clever move by Chavez. But guess what CITGO IS CHANGING ITS NAME...this is serious Americans...make sure you read.


Chavez is NOW getting a Russian Weapons Factory built by Putin. The RUSSIANS are building an AK-47 Kalashnikov Assault Rifle factory in Venezuela , to give armament support to Communist Rebel groups throughout the Americas .

Chavez NOW has IRANIANS operating his oil refineries in Venezuela for him. It is likely only a matter of time, if not already, before Chavez has Iranian built LONG RANGE missiles, with a variety of warhead types aimed at: Guess Who?

CITGO is NOW in the process of Changing Its Name to PETRO EXPRESS due to the loss of gasoline sales in the USA due to the recent publicity of ownership by Chavez of Venezuela .

Every dollar you spend with CITGO or PETRO EXPRESS gasoline will be used against you, your basic human rights, and your freedoms. He will start wars here in the Americas that will probably be the death of millions.

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT because Chavez is starting to feel the loss of revenue from his holdings. HE OWNS CITGO. This is a very important move that everyone should be aware of.



U.S. citizens, God bless their souls, are building the foundations for their own incarceration. The boogeymen of the world will be the justification for imprisoning the U.S. citizen in his own country. Its not because of outside influences that Infragard has been established and our liberties are being assaulted, its because the U.S. government fears its own citizens the most. The ones who have been duped into debt slavery for the benefit of financial oligarchs supported and bailed out by taxes collected from U.S. citizens with police force. They're about the make the fossil fuel party invitation only and hope everyone else is intimidated enough to accept their sorry fates.