Watching Government - Petroamérica

Facing a likely recall referendum, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is looking to improve goodwill at home and with some neighbors. One way he hopes to boost his credibility is through the revival of a decade-old plan to create a Latin American energy cartel called Petroamérica.In past months, Chávez has aggressively lobbied other state-run oil companies amenable to his leftist brand of politics to combine forces and create what would in essence be a powerful supermajor (see related story, p. 32). Chávez says Petroamérica would be an "energy epicenter," commanding respect in both international oil and petroleum product markets. In theory, the company also would be...

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