It's a funny kind of anti-imperialism


Regardless of Nicolás Maduro’s rhetoric, the MG4EX_NUS-NVE_2Mfacts simply speak for themselves:

We’re not just dependent on the U.S. as a market for the oil exports that pay for the import of, um, pretty much everything that can be imported.

Now we’re also dependent on them for the import – at full international price, bien sur – of 100,000 barrels per day of gasoline that we can no longer refine ourselves (since Amuay blew up) and that we then give away largely to middle-class car drivers, forcing us to devalue our currency not once, but twice in two months to the direct detriment of poorer consumers’ purchasing power.

Somehow, Bolivarian anti-imperialism requires transferring $10 million a day more or less directly from Venezuela’s poor to U.S. gasoline refiners… ¡así, así, así es que se gobierna!

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. The cost of spouting anti-imperialist, pseudo-revolutionary claptrap at said partner-in-trade is, by comparison, apparently quite cheap.

  2. Best part of this, is that it will only get worse. Fixed refining capacity, continuing organic consumptive growth, fixed prices and a push on demand = sad panda times.

    Combine this with the SICAD fiasco, and, well…expect more imperialist propaganda.

    Funny thing is that I actually have come to believe that THEY believe what they are claiming about capitalist speculation and imperialist intervention. They are drinking their own flavoraid.

    And in the end, everyone loses.

    • Expect fuel rationing nationwide soon. That’s how brilliant Chavistas will “resolve” the issue.

      It’s also WTCWD (what the Cubans would do).

      Great post GEHA.

      • Rafael, wasn’t there already some sticker or pass required to get gasoline in the border areas? I suspect that might be introduced nationwide in the future as a means of rationing.

  3. No son antiimperialistas. Sólo lo gritan en la TV. Aquí un video animado donde msotramos quienes realmente son antiimperialistas

  4. How much does a barrel of gas cost? This could mean the trade balance between Venezuela and The Empire is almost favorable to the US.

    • Well, it’s not quite to that level. I think a barrel of gasoline sells for 20-30% more than a barrel of crude oil. We import 100,000 barrels of gasoline, but export close to 800,000 barrels of crude oil, so…

      • Safe to say the numbers confirm that it is in fact Maduro’s campaign that is being financed by Los Estados Unidos.

        Maybe cognitive dissonance explains the strange behaviour of ElBigote del Pueblo.

    • The trade deficit has grown since Chavez came into office, but it’s much smaller than it would otherwise have been since Venezuela started massive imports of refined products from the US. The US still has a trade deficit with Venezuela, but it is shrinking by the year.
      Doubtless, Hugo Chavez has been a good partner for the US. If Venezuela had followed a more normal policy it would probably have gigantic currency reserves and a growing export surplus, as Saudi Arabia does.

      The US exported….6,515.8 | 10,649.4 | 17,631.2
      The US imported….9,181.4 | 32,707.4 | 38,725.8

      • I’m guessing gasoline exports account for no more than $2-$3 billion in US exports to Venezuela. The vast bulk $14 bn, is just regular stuff exports subsidized by the policy of keeping the bolivar overvalued. And as “imports” are of a desperately needed strategic commodity, my guess the US is every so satisfied with the way this bilateral trade relationship is going.

          • Hasn’t been repaired. Government recently said “soon-to-be”, and now operating at only some 50% capacity (-300m bbl./da.). Original estimates were for 1-2 years, and a $multi-billion investment.

          • Nonsense, the great leader-commandant himself stated it would be back online in a few days, as he wisely said: “The show must go on.” Rafael Ramirez promised normal operations would resume by the end of 2012.


            One can therefore conclude the refinery is operating normally and any increased gasoline consumption is due to the flood of cars produced by VenIran automotive.

          • Please note also, dear NET that GAC V2 has pretty much silenced the far more obnoxious original. Genuine trolling and genuine fanaticism-doublethink are virtually indistinguishable after all, one can be used to off the other.

        • FT , Good estimate !, According to Venancham figures Venezuelan imports of US oil products were of about 2.8 Bln USD in 2012, while the rest of the imports (some 13 bln USD plus) consisted of non oil related merchandise. The real loss however has to take account of the impact of Venezuelan loss of refining capacity to produce export products which brought in a lot of revenue and are no longer being produced. There is also a bit of confusion about the extent to which Amuay has recovered , recovery is not measured merely by counting bls processed at the refinery but by counting the kind of products which are included in those bls , volume may be up for low grade low price products but have dropped for high value high grade products ( such as gazoline) , this is the most likely case.. Also no one seems to be aware of the implications of the closing of the US Virgin Island refinery Pdvsa had with an American Company last year and which processed over 200.000 Bls per day most of which was exported to the US . .

  5. So there’s not just regressiveness in how they obtain the money but also in how they spend it. Como el cangrejo, but all this while spouting that they are sooo progressive. The best con in the world.

  6. What other commenters have written: very good post. Given the poor maintenance record of PDVSA under Chavismo, this financial fiasco caused by the refinery explosion could have been predicted years ago. Back in 2007 a consulting petroleum engineer who has made numerous inspection tours of Venezuela informed me that post-2002 he had seen deterioration in PDVSA infrastructure, a deterioration which has only gotten worse since then.

  7. Gasoline is about $105/barrel (in bulk). Venezuela is importing 95,000 barrels/day, at a cost of just under $10B/day.

    Venezuela will thus pay over $36B/year to U.S. refiners to subsidize Venezuelan drivers, especially upper-class drivers with Hummers, Cadillacs, and Ferraris.

    Viva la revolucion!

      • In all honesty…how many Hummers are there really in Venezuela? Certainly not that many. But there are tons of SUV’s and older vehicles that are gas guzzlers just the same.

  8. Hey Chaduristas! How come you are not importing gasoline from China or Russia ?

    Can’t they offer a better price? Out of revolutionary anti-imperialist solidarity? No? I suppose that Venezuela under Chavismo and the Roja Rojita PDVSA can’t bend over to pick the proverbial bar of soap that China or Russia would “drop” in the shower, in exchange for friendlier (than U.S.’s) prices. And I use the word “can’t”, because already Roja Rojita PDVSA promised they would bend over to offer… oil futures in exchange for loans, only they spent it on other things (a huge party called Reelect the Moribund), now they are too drunk and arthritic to actually bend over and…satisfy their creditors.

    So… Business sense (or at least inertia), which is counterrevolutionary and pro-imperialist , works: U.S. gasoline is the most readily available and is thus imported. Too bad this sense can’t ever defeat the collective idiocy of Venezuelans which makes it impossible not to give away gasoline, which costs money, for free. It can’t also make Roja Rojita PDVSA not blow up its own facilities.

      • Too… I am aware that the U.S. has the next to nearest refineries apt to refine many types of Venezuelan oil, so, maybe we are putting wholly Venezuelan oil in our tanks even if the gasoline is imported. That thanks to Roja Rojita PDVSA the nearest ones routinely stop for longer than they should, catch fire or even blow up.

  9. Geography makes the import of gazoline from china or russia prohibitely expensive because of the high freight cost , which also serves to underline why selling crude oil to china accross the globe is less profitable for Venezuela than selling it to the US market which is practically next door and where prices are among the highest in the world . ( price of crude changes depending on the market destination to where its sent, , USEC prices are among the highest in the world) .

  10. very well illustrated. as far as “correcting” the price of gasoline in Venezuela , would it be equivalent to rationing or arbitrary price differentiation, to implement a progressive emissions tax on regular car owners, public transportation, industry, etc.? so those who burn the most gasoline or diesel, would pay the highest tax, required in order to have a circulation permit for the vehicle, while those who don’t own cars and don’t make money out of businesses that depend on gas, would not be directly hit. politically or logistically it might be impossible or illogical to implement such a scheme but theoretically, if an emissions tax were implemented on a technical basis per average unit of energy consumed for each tax bracket, is it just as bad of an idea?

    • It’s hard to tell what a “progressive emissions” tax might mean in this context. Surely any per-liter tax is “progressive” in the sense that if you use 100 liters you pay 10 times as much as if you use 10 liters, no?

      The law doesn’t need to care if you used those liters in a lamborghini or a chevy aveo, on a lawnmower or a jet ski. Admin is blessedly simple. Yours is a solution in search of a problem…

      • It’s hard to tell what a “progressive emissions” tax might mean in this context.
        It means that depending on the quantity and quality of the re fried beans you consumed, your emissions tax may go further up or you might get a return.

  11. This is for CC readers in Asia 😀 The problem I was thinking of admittedly is both environmental and financial, how to raise gas prices for some consumers non-arbitrarily and non-politically, using average monthly consumption and carbon emissions together to calculate a “tax bracket”, which would basically differentiate ciudadanos de a pie, car owners, Hummer owners, large businesses, and industries, so progressive meaning that people or businesses who consume more gasoline and/or emit more carbon pollution, pay more, say starting at 100 liters per month for “consumo regular”. Taking a great many if’s for granted, if you could implement such a tax and get Venezuelans to pay for it, would it still have negative effects in the economy just as a direct price hike, or the government directly setting differentiated prices without the strict technical basis of average liters per month and CO2 emissions per month?

    As for the feasability, I was thinking this along the lines of the scheme often described by extorres of direct distribution of oil income, even if you distribute only part of the money through a universal bonus for each citizen, this gives the opportunity to charge the consumption/emissions tax as another deduction for individual consumers albeit not businesses or industries, where they can see that their deduction from the yearly bonus is reduced each time the emission/consumption tax goes up. Especially for the lowest income brackets, who would be paying no income tax, this would sound almost as good as checks flying through the air.

    • I don’t fully understand at which point you would apply the differential gas rate, but I can think of a few problems right away. You have to consider the cost of the certification, second, the administrative overhead for the entire system, and finally account for room you might create for all sorts of secondary dealing. For instance if you pay a different price at the pump (or get a discount later) you would have an incentive to start dealing in gasoline. It is similar to the problem with having multiple exchange rates. I imagine since gasoline is so cheap in Venezuela having slightly different prices may only provide room for small scale profiteering. But say if you operate a fleet of trucks or buses and get gas at discounted prices you may be able to make a few bolivares on the side.

      Now, in a country where you have to have your car certified regularly (say annually), where things are reasonably transparent and there is little incentive to try to make a few bucks reselling gasoline this might work.

  12. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here