Chavez employs 'fishing model' of geopolitics

Bob Tippee
Editor

Call it the live-bait fishing model of geopolitics: first the gift, then the gaff.

Terrorist groups use the technique in the Middle East, ingratiating themselves to the hard-pressed with medical and other services (the gift) even as they murder noncombatants they don't like (the gaff).

The groups answer complaints about the gaff by pointing to the gift.

With a less deadly gaff, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fishing in the US.

State-owned—meaning Chavez-dominated—Petroleos de Venezuela SA is selling heating oil at discounts through its Citgo subsidiary to poor people in the US. The program began last winter after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted Gulf Coast refining and raised fuel costs.

Citgo crows about it in a brochure on its web site entitled "From the Venezuelan Heart to the US Hearths" and featuring a photo of a sympathetic Chavez with this message: "We are all americanos, and together we share the Bolivarian mission of giving hope and a better life to the poorest and most vulnerable, whether they live in Venezuela or Vermont."

Who can argue against aid to the poorest and most vulnerable?

But with the gift of cheap oil comes a gaff.

In a Sept. 15 speech at the United Nations, Chavez called US President George W. Bush "the devil." In a later speech in New York, he said he hopes Americans elect "an intelligent president" and insisted that he's a friend of Americans other than those in the government.

The Venezuelan president, of course, has been wooing his country's neighbors with cut-rate oil and anti-Americanism for many months.

Traveling to the US to spit the venom was especially galling, however. If Chavez hoped to co-opt political opponents of Bush in the US, the ploy didn't work. Democrats, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, greeted the UN gaff as a gaffe. Pelosi called Chavez an "everyday thug."

Citgo, of course, is free to sell all the cut-rate oil Chavez wants it to in the US. Sensible Americans will take the gift and ignore the politics behind it.

As long as the gaff is only bone-headed rhetoric, they can afford to.

(Online Sept. 22, 2006; author's e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

MRPL commissions unit at Mangalore refining complex

03/03/2015 Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) has started the process of commissioning an integrated polypropylene unit at its refinery in Ma...

Bangkok refinery due capacity expansion, upgrades

03/02/2015 Bangchak Petroleum Public Co. Ltd. (BCP) is planning to increase crude oil processing capacity at its Bangkok, Thailand, refinery, as part of its g...

Work stoppages commence at largest US refinery, three other facilities

03/02/2015 The United Steelworkers (USW) union has launched additional work stoppages at the largest refinery in the US and three other facilities as part of ...

OGJ Newsletter

03/02/2015

International news for oil and gas professionals

Planned, unplanned maintenance under way at Venezuelan refineries

02/27/2015

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is conducting both planned and unplanned maintenance work at three of its Venezuelan refineries.

Speaker suggests how Russian regime change might occur

02/27/2015

Speculative details about regime change in Russia have emerged from an especially interesting source.

RIL lets contract for Jamnagar refinery expansion work

02/26/2015 Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), Mumbai, has let a contract to Metso Corp., Helsinki, to supply valve technology as part of the Phase 3 expansion pr...

Work stoppages commence at largest US refinery, three other facilities

02/23/2015 The United Steelworkers union (USW) has launched additional work stoppages at the largest refinery in the US and three other facilities as part of ...

API: US oil product demand reached highest January level since 2008

02/23/2015 US oil product demand rose 1.5% year-to-year to an average 19.2 million b/d in January, its highest level for the month since 2008, the American Pe...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected