Loud and Clear

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corrupcionetica630fPart of me can’t help but be impressed with Maduro and Diosdado this week: the sheer chutzpah, the titanium-plated cojones you need to take a fairly standard campaign of repression against political dissidents and dress it up proudly as an anti-corruption drive is breathtaking. In a way, today’s government march is a testament to Hugo Chávez: he knew enough to leave in charge people willing and able to carry forth his legacy of aggressively sectarian, borderline dadaist illogic masquerading as leftist ideology. Chapeau.

Today’s government march also stands as a monument to Communicational Hegemony. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that Andres Izarra is a visionary. He saw clearly what lesser men could only dimly intuit: that a government bent on building propaganda lines out of sheer gobbledygook couldn’t be stable if alternative voices were allowed to challenge it in mass media. A government like this one needs communicational hegemony like you and I need air to breathe: only in a world of off-the-air RCTVs, co-opted Venevisions, bought-off Globovisions and a thousand cowed radio stations could the government get away with telling us, with a straight face, that it was “cracking down on corruption” by…inconstitutionally stripping elected dissidents of their parliamentary immunity.

It may be that, at this point, the blindingly obvious merits re-stating, if only because Communicational Hegemony itself ensures that perfectly self-evident facts are rarely stated in public anymore: the whole notion that the heart of Venezuela’s corruption problem is in the opposition is utterly non-sensical.

A continuously hounded, spied on, persecuted and cash-starved opposition can’t steal very much, not even because they’re more ethical than chavistas, but simply because they lack the opportunity for serious graft. The entire notion that a young politico interested chiefly in lining his pockets would choose to be part of an opposition political party when he could just as easily join a movement awash in petrodollars, allergic to auditing, protected by friendly judges, prosecutors and cops, to say nothing of the aforementioned communicational hegemonic state media, is one so aggressively devoid of minimal sense as to be barely worth discussing. (Again, it’s because the argument is so flimsy, so patently incapable of withstanding any kind of critical scrutiny that you wouldn’t really think of putting it forth unless you could be sure it would go unanswered, as far as most media consumers were concerned.)

But perhaps the real message of the day is getting lost in the smoke and mirrors of a kleptocracy accusing its victims of doing what it itself specializes in:

Say you’re a chavista on the make. Say you have a nice guiso going, skimming petrodollars off the budget of any of the umpteen-hundred ministries, state owned firms, institutos autonomos, quasi-NGOs, comunas, cooperativas, militias, barracks, misiones, embassies, consulates, notarías, registros, tribunals, universities, gobernaciones or alcaldías now graced with the adjective “bolivarianas”.

What do you think you learned as you watched TV today?

You learned that as long as you keep wearing those red T-Shirts and showing up to those marches, you are a-ok. You learned that corruption, your type of corruption, is going to be tolerated indefinitely, as long as you’re smart enough to keep your loyalties straight. You learned that dissent is the road to prison, and loyalty the road to sustaining a lifestyle you probably never dreamed you’d have access to before you started stealing from the state.

And let’s be clear: in structuring their “clampdown on corruption” around a dissident witch-hunt, Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello knew exactly what they were doing. This message was clearly delivered by people perfectly cognizant of how it would be received. They’ve done their sums, and they’ve come to their conclusion: as a worsening economic situation rocks the social basis for the regime’s stability, the unconditional support of the society of accomplices becomes increasingly critical to sustaining their power. Chávez liked to deceive himself into thinking he was practicing statecraft, Maduro and Diosdado own their racketeering.

1 COMMENT

      • ” It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too-in some more complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory? ”

        George Orwell, 1984

  1. My post on my fb page this morning after reading about the pro-government march against corruption:
    “Hay que quitarse el sombrero antes las bolas del gobierno en su llamado a una marcha contra la corrupcion. Es un gambito perfecto. Quien, en su sano juicio, se opondria a una protesta contra la corrupcion? No importa que la corrupcion este, predominantemente, en manos del gobierno. Uffff…vivisimos son.”

  2. “Corruption” is an excellent facade for a traditional campaign of repression. The very term promises that only those who study the bank statements, currency variables, bond prices and insider information will be able to ascertain whether an accused is a dissident, or a crook.

  3. Whatever the regimes huphzta , noise , blaring slogans , does anybody actually believe them ?? does the opposition inability to point out the obvious mean that every body goes along with the farce ??

    • that is a good question, I would like to have the money to put a hundred pollsters to see what the people think, for me this is another stalemate, the goverment present some claims, the oppossition say they are lying, no side is able to decisively convince, I would say that the non-radicals might be a bit more skeptical about the goverment than in the past, given the succesion of lies they have made this year and the current state of the economy, by the way I don’t think that mardo is accused of stealing anything, but rather that he recieve funding from narcos, tough they haven’t even tried to prove that

    • I’m guessing there is a bit of everything. Some believe it, some have their doubts and some do not believe it for a moment. But all of them see the government as more powerful for being able to do what their doing.

      • People who want to believe it because they find narcicistic delight in identifying with the regime and its slogans , will believe it , no mattter how much they are exposed to the truth , people who on the contrary oppose the regime wont believe it whatever the facts , but there are a lot of people who might even sympathise at times with the regime but who know when a lie is a lie, whose sense of reality is still basically intact , who will not only recognize the hollow farcical nature of the govts crass propaganda and moreover who will be offended by it . Lastly there will be those who dont care , who will cinicaclly say “thats the way its always been , they are all crooks , what do we care” . I wager that most people who are not in the opposition will probably fall in the third category , maybe they will feel the regime is so powerful there is nothing to do about it , but they will know , In one of the first of this blogs “hang outs” the guest journalist mentioned that in the countries under the old soviet sphere of influence in eastern europe , whatever the propaganda , people knew about the mess the government was creating , For years , these people while in a state of a “learned helplessness” did nothing , but when circumstances gave them a chance to act , they acted and deposed the government through public protests . Same as you Im not worried about the credibility part , I’m worried about the “learned helplessness” part where even if people feel disgusted with the govt they feel there is nothing they can do about it , and simply give up.

        • My guess is that many, many more people believe it than we’d like to think possible. A single message, repeated again and again and again, with discipline and resources behind it, sticks. It just does.

        • Paradoxically, I think at this stage most people in Venezuela are more isolated from what is going on abroad than people at pre-Internet times in the Soviet Union or in such countries as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and so on.
          This is particularly amazing as we do have the advantage not only of some Internet (albeit one of the slowest on Earth) but most of our neighbours speak our language.

          It doesn’t matter the upper middle class and some middle class keep going to the US and Europe and
          most Venezuelans crave for the latest imported mobile and know the latest songs from abroad…their knowledge about the real world is rather limited. There is something else: even if people might have similar raw intelligence, they haven’t precisely been trained to use logic in Venezuela…not at home and not at school. So: all that potential intelligence is put to waste…more so under the constant propaganda fire as mentioned in this post.

          • There is a point to what FT is saying , methodical repetition does in the end make people adopt beliefs that are nonsense , vide : the widespread notion that Pdvsa was in the 90’s giving the country’s oil industry up to international oil companies, Ive seen this canard repeated even by people who ought to know better. Still I do feel that there is a deep vein of malice and skepticism in Venezuela that make people sensitive to detecting govt lies and misinformation , specially where they are as crass and gross as the one the regime is propagandizing now. Its just something thats in the air , that operates at an universal gossip level , that even Chavistas denounce in aporrea and other publications , thats very difficult to hide . Does anybody know of any credible polls touching on the subject??

          • “credible polls”?
            The best polls I have seen on Venezuela were carried out by Russians based on Twitter and Facebook activiy. Me caí de culo cuando vi las predicciones y los resultados, not thinking they could take into account the unbalance in (real) Internet penetration across social classes and regions.

            I believe all Venezuelan groups keep now this WWI trench mentality…until a major economic upheaval hits those who still are indifferent or pro-Chavismo.
            People are a bitch. When Chávez lost his referendum in 2007, his popularity dropped dramatically. So: basically, people reacted to whether he was a loser or a winner.
            The same has happened now with Capriles, only hat Capriles hasn’t got the money to spend. Shortly after the elections Capriles’ Twitter followers (and I am very aware of how to predict anything via Twitter, but it seems some projection is possible) dramatically rose…but Maduro has been getting more new followers – even by just a small margin – in the last couple of months.

            Even if Maduro says a lot of stupid things, he has the propaganda channels and his team distributes some crumbles. Capriles may say just a fraction of the stupidities Maduro says but every single error is counted by 10 when it’s him: he has no money and he is already perceived as the loser.

            He could revert that if he were to get more concrete on what an alternative Venezuela would look like. Obviously, he cannot transmit that through capriles tv. He needs the oppo to take over the public buses across Venezuela, the secondary cities,
            to develop some form of common set of values and promote real debates.

            The regime will become then more virulent. Be so.

          • Its true people love a winner , anybody projecting strenght and success , when Kennedy was at the peak of his popularity a poll was taken and a lot of people who voted for Nixon remembered having voted for Kennedy . This is particulary the case in Venezuela where we have a culture that idolazes raw Power and Might ( but resent success in someone familiar) , we see it after every regime change , huge masses of people turn coats and start adoring the new fellow where before they followed his predecessor. Maduro however if you look at past polls has failed to convince people of many of his whimsical ideas ( the magnicide plot is a total flop, the notion that Chavez was killed by poisoned rays fell flat ) , There is always a percentage of hard liners who believe blindly in what Maduro tells them ( about 30% of the people) but lets not take for granted that command of most media gives him automatic credibility among most venezuelans , it just isnt so . Capriles capacity to reach people has been weakened by his expulsion from govt controlled or private subservient media, and that poses for him a big challenge to build up the levels of popularity he needs , but Im not sure that necessarily makes people look upon Maduro as anybit more credible !!

          • Then how do you explain the declining wells operating contracts, and 60%+ ownership in the oil belt?

            PDVSA was being partially privatized and part of it was reversed. Venezuela no longer gets only 20$ per barrel on depleted wells and, and now oil belt contracts are flipped.

            This site is too much of an echo chamber and I am sad that I let you people be like this.

          • Shame : I have the goods on this one !! believe you me , and Im not going spend ammunition in killing the silly birdie that you have in your brain . Still I’ll give you a tip , if oil prices dont allow you enough income to exploit all your oil prospects so you must concentrate your resources on those which are really profitable what do you do with the prospects which very low yields dont justify your investment , you let them lie fallow or allow someone to put the money and resources to develop them letting the income hungry govt rake in the resulting income while maintaiing total control over their production and operations . Not your fault if latter govts ( revolutionary ones ) where sloppy in exercising those controls . Of the 4 strategic heavy oil associations not all where 60% owned by Intnal Companies , do you know Chavista Law allows 50% non pdvsa ownership ? where do you get your data ?, from the Propaganda Pdvsa page ?? , did you ever read those contracts?? did you ever understand how they were designed to operate ?, dont you know of the accidents and explosions and production problems that now beset those operations.?? More importantly what do you know of those contracts that Pdvsa is now trying to make to have other much less capable international oil companies take up the funding and operation and marketing of oil belt deposits on terms which are really much more favourable to those foreign companies than the old revoked contracts ever were !!. Stick to Satellite launches and orbiting satellites, dont attempt to meddle on topics you know nothing about.!!

          • One quick question, do you admit that PDVSA was partially privatized in the 90’s or don’t you?

            Again there were two privatization attempts

            1) Depleted wells, old traditional wells that were depleted which Venezuela sold by contract at 20$ a barrel when the international price was ~100$

            This was reversed in 2006, and foreign companies were given minority ownership but that 90’s contract was rescinded.

            2) Oil belt, Did Venezuela have a minority stake in every single block? I can’t verify, but I DO know that as of today PDVSA has majority ownership in every single block after the nationalization in 2007.

        • Bearing in mind that a good chunk of the people who attend these rallies are government workers who are required to do so as a condition of their job security and upward mobility, which is itself a manifestation the corruption of the civil service, it has to be the case that at a certain point, people become so used to corruption that the word loses much of its original meaning. Which comes back to that point above about Orwell.

          How many of the people at this rally against corruption realized they were actively engaged in an act of corruption when they attended the rally?

    • I wonder about the same thing, eventually the whole thing will blow up like the Soviet Union, and probably sooner since they won’t be able to turn to Gulags and forced population movements as the Soviets did. Everyone pretends to believe what the emperor with no clothes is spouting, until one day the collectively agree they’ve had enough of the bullshit and hang him. Even Arturo admitted the opposition could win the next election.

      Of course this is not much of a comfort to opposition supporters in Venezuela, who knows how long this process will take.

  4. Sadly, the corruption isn’t just of those skimming in higher positions of ability to do so–it’s also: all those (the majority) paid extra (for weekends, as opposed to workday Government worker roll-taking/threats of firing) to attend marches; the workers stealing from private/Government businesses/offices/hospitals/schools/etc.; the Comuna members selling Comunal cement right off the delivery gondola on the main road before its even delivered for use by the Comuna, y, se para de contar. In Venezuela, the street sweeper even steals the broom before he begins sweeping. No legal sanctions, no societal criticism, no future–unless one is lucky enough to be chosen as an astronaut on Shame’s Venezuelan Space Program (standup comedy at its finest, even Maduro/Diosdado might learn something from him).

    • The future in Venezuela is not just for astronauts!
      Don’t forget all the collateral growth from the close-to-the-equator launching pads, through transportation on the most efficient railroad network ever conceived by dibujito to reflect the Great Plan Socialista.

      Q: Dates? Timelines? Statistics?
      A: “Effing meaningless” (Shame dixit).

      How many guisos are cooking over the differential between dibujitos and actual output?

  5. that’s why caracas chronicles is based on an alternative understanding of the role of media, where dialogue with the other side is fostered and encouraged in a non-circle-jerk atmosphere

        • Say whatever you want about the SIBCI but at least when I facepalm they kind of have a point, for example their spin on collapsing car manufacturing, installed capacity has never been higher, just government stupidity since 2007 has culled production.

          At least the optimists like myself don’t really get depressed in the face of bad news, with them blaring blatant silver linings like that.

  6. Simply pretending to be the opposite of what you really are (facts be dammed) is an old and well proven marketing technique. Look at how McDonald s dressed Ronald in a jump suit and sponsors the Olympics. They actually want to market themselves as healthy (facts be dammed!!!!! ) Look at how BP changed it’s logo to a green sunflower.. that’s because they want to claim that they are actually good for the environment!
    If anything, this latest ploy continues to show the great communicational sophistication of the government.

  7. One thing we can be sure of is that the Opposition candidates for the December elections will be thwarted in one way or another.Some having gained enough votes to win, will have their votes stolen from them, others will be allowed to occupy their office only to have all the power and money stripped away by the communas,and others will be accused of corruption and sidelined.

  8. Substitute your words “Chavez”, “Maduro”, “Diosdado”. “Izarra”, for “The Cubans” and your article makes more sense those idiots dont have enough combined IQ to make any strategy work.

  9. It is very sad to see how low they are willing to go…. The country is truly at the hands of a bunch of thieves withough out any scruples… This is another below the waist hit… not only rules do not apply to them, but they are showing how they control the referee, the broadcast and when the opponent complains on the wrongfull hit, it is santioned on them, so they “learn not to complain”… Their biggest victory might be to continue to demorilze their opponents.

  10. Unfortunately the opposition walked right into this one. Why was Caldera treated so differently than Mardo? Caldera was dropped like a hot potato and left to fend for himself, yet Mardo was protected by the group. By dropping Caldera Capriles and the opposition were able to diffuse the bomb. By embracing Mardo we were sure to suffer collateral damage.

    Was stripping Mardo’s parliamentary immunity a red cape? Why o why did we have to wait for an issue so abstract as protecting parliamentary immunity to call for a rally?

    The Chavista propaganda machine did not die with Chavez and it has shown that it is working at full speed easily transforming reality. Lets not give it ammunition.

    • “Why o why did we have to wait for an issue so abstract as protecting parliamentary immunity to call for a rally? ”

      Because, and that is the big, glaring blind spot of this blog, the government being autocratic criminals didn’t change the fact that non-government parties care about one thing: keeping their jobs. What their actual jobs entail is a very secondary thing to them, like in the US, like in all “representative” governments.

  11. NO MORE B.S. Venezuela needs help! Maduro and Diosdado are distroying a beautiful country and leaving the Venezuelans starved to death
    !

  12. This is for any fellow blogger who is wondering about Chavez purported renationalization of the oil industry . 1st the facts about the 4 strategic oil belt associations . 1. Because of low oil prices in the 90’s Pdvsa didnt have the resources to put up 100% of the heavy investments needed to develop the extra heavy crude of the orinoco belt , it could choose between not exploiting that oil or entering into joint ventures with international investors willing to put up the money and special expertise needed for the purpose. It chose the latter commplying with all required laws , the percentage of Pdvsa participation being determined by the amount of resources which it had to put in its share of the required investment. 2. Of the 4 joint ventures Pdvsa had 50% in one, 42% in another , 40% in the third and 30% in the smallest one. 3,. In 2001 Venezuelas production was 3,349,000 bls per day of which 18% or 600.000 bls came from the oil belt associations . 3. this means that internat investors had a share in 11% of Venezuelas oil production (assuming their average participation to be of 60%) . 4. When the regime decided to increase its participation in these associations to 60% it still allowed the intern investor to retain a 40 % participation , so that in effect all it did was reduce these investors participation in the production from 11% to 9% of the 2001 production , a 2% drop in their share . Pdvsa’s participation in the production went from 89% to 91% definitely not an earth shaking change by any means . 5. More than half of the production in the oil belt associations went to US refineries where Pdvsa owned a 50% participation and could recieve a bigger yield from the ultimate marketing proceeds of that oil . 6. Because the economics of the oil belt investments were so vulnerable , Venezuelan congress allowed for the 1st years of the association operations to reduce the then applicable royalty of 16 2/3 % to 1% until operations reached full commercial development, As world oil prices went up , the govt took measure to increase such royalty payments from 16 2/3 % to 30% ( while dropping the average 67% income tax rate to 32%) , this measure was taken and applied to the oil belt joint ventures BEFORE any measure was taken to increase Pdvsa’s share in such ventures to 60% (without any legal action being taken by the internat investors against this fiscal measure.- which increased oil prices allowed) .
    conclusion : the regimes decision to take over 1/3 of the internat investors participation in the production of the oil belt joint venture operations had as its effect making Pdvsa direct share in the production go from 89% to 91% , hardly the earth shaking nationalization event that the regime crows about !! Next we will deal with the Convenios Operativos issue .

    • Bill,
      Perhaps it’s better to put that interesting information in Wikipedia Spanish or English (somewhere in Venezuelan economy or oil in Venezuela). I have done the same with education under Chavismo (which is one of the worst disasters, actually)

      • I second Kepler’s suggestion. Your comments, BB, are a worthy resource, written by someone who obviously has first-hand experience in the matter.

        • Thanks Kepler and Syd , will try and write something to make the facts of Chavez farsical nationalization process better known . Im not too profecient in the use of digital devices but will see if I can get help.

    • Again you yourself claim it was partially privatized, I still don’t get why you are fighting me on this, I never claimed that it was the end of the world that they participated in the 90’s investing their money and expertise, PDVSA is STILL privatized, that said I disagree having control i very very important and earth shattering, even if it means going from 89.5 to 90 if it means controlling it all then it is BIG.

      BTW I know the rest, I also know that the first national work stoppages started when the habiltante was running out in 01 and Chavez increased royalties, so the opposition was against raising royalties way back in 01.

  13. Convenios Operativos : As prices fell Venezuela didnt have enough money to invest in all the oil development prospects it had available , so it hierachized its development prospects from those which offered the best yields to those which offered the lowest ones.and spent its scarce resources on those offering the best yields while leaving those offering the lowest yields undeveloped . Because many of the latter couldnt justify the expense to Pdvsa of maintaining them they were shut down .The govt however needed more money and instructed Pdvsa to make those inactive or low yield fields available for development by private investors so that whatever income came from them could be recieved by the govt. As the Law didnt allow for direct non state investment in any oil operations and Pdvsa didnt want to waste its scarce resources on fields which economically werent all that attractive compared to its other prospects by setting up joint ventures with those investors , it decided to open a competitive bid process for oil operating companies interested in those fields subject to the following conditions : 1.All oil produced in those fields would belong exclusively to Pdvsa to dispose as it saw fit. 2. the investors would put up all the investments and funds needed to redevelop those fields and would recieve in return a money remmuneration tied to its costs and performance . 3, that remmuneration would be paid back by Pdvsa from the oil income it recieved from the increased production ,4. if the production didnt cover the costs the payment would be defferred until it did , if oil prices fell so that they werent enough to cover the investors investment outlays a the end of the contract term , the investor lost it not Pdvsa. 5. All assets in the field were owned by Pdvsa even if the investors hadnt yet been paid back the resources they put to buy or build them . 6. Investors plans and operataing costs and investments budgets were subject to Pdvsa’s prior approval, Pdvsa thus retained total control over the operations . The investors were treated as any ordinary service contractor would be with no rights to the oil being produced or over the assets used in the production and without Pdvsa having to share with the Contractor any part of the economic results of its marketing of that oil . Once again their opeations and plans were totally subject to Pdvsa’s control . To state that these contracts were in fact disguised denationalization of venezuelas oil resources takes a lot of imagination and gross bad faith !! After the 2002 strike sent oil production spinning , Pdvsa ordered these contractors to go whole hog in increasing the fields production , whatever the cost , the contractors responded by going overboard in spending all they could to increase production , this measure had unfortunate economic consequences for Pdvsa which it blamed on the contracts and not on the way they had used them . .

    • All fine and dandy except for the fact that ceiling was $20 a barrel for every barrel of oil produced here, that is all PDVSA got out of these wells 20% of their current value, calculate that over 7 years and see how much was gained.

      Listen I know all of this. What shocks me is your denial that is was not partially privatized.

      • Your head is so muddled that you cant explain your self , what $20 a bl ceiling are you talking about , where do you get 20% of what current value ? your talking about which contract , from which bidding round ??: the 1st, 2nd ,or third or are you somehow referring to one of the orinoco belt joint ventures, I think you got some contract formula mixed up, there were many . I dont know of any limits on the price that Pdvsa could charge its customers for selling its oil or on the price of the oil which the joint ventures produced ,
        Im also shocked that you dont know that the current Ley Organica ennacted by this regime expressly allows a 50% private participation in oil joint ventures and that today, Pdvsa own activties have fallen so low that probably the non pdvsa participation in the production of old and new joint ventures is higher than it was in the year 2000, In other words the regime doenst call attention to it but in practice it is Privatizing the oil industry more than it ever was in the past using formulas and structures and made up terms to disguise the fact . Why?? for two reasons: because Pdvsa is broke operationally and financially and cant do the job it used to do on its own , Second because for ideological reasons tied to the former presidents megalomania and paranoia it has to enter into businesses with certain companies and countries that have technically or commercially little to contribute to our oil development ( Biolorusia , China, Iran , Cuba ) or that exact a huge price for their cooperation . The sad thing is that because of the sorry state of Pdvsa today were moving towards a greater level of Privatization than would have happened in the old days !! Our advise to you, dont meddle in what you dont know or understand !!

        • “Your head is so muddled that you cant explain your self , what $20 a bl ceiling are you talking about , where do you get 20% of what current value ? your talking about which contract , from which bidding round ??: the 1st, 2nd ,or third ”

          Convenios operativos, which on average had wonky formulas that never predicted the price of oil would skyrocket.

          “Im also shocked that you dont know that the current Ley Organica ennacted by this regime expressly allows a 50% private participation in oil joint ventures and that today, ”

          The state has to have 50% + 1 minimum though.

          “Pdvsa own activties have fallen so low that probably the non pdvsa participation in the production of old and new joint ventures is higher than it was in the year 2000, In other words the regime doenst call attention to it but in practice it is Privatizing the oil industry more than it ever was in the past using formulas and structures and made up terms to disguise the fact .”

          It is entirely possible that this is correct the future of Venezuelan oil is in the belt so it stands to reason that it will take up more and more of a percentage as the years go on.

          But at least it is now 60% owned by PDVSA on average, but most importantly CONTROLLED. This is why the rest of your post is propaganda, this shift to the oil belt over future decades is inevitable and having less than 50% (closer to 40%) was really bad.

          BTW did you use to work for PDVSA?

          • Evidently you cant answer my questions because you dont know what your talking about . Still lets get a few things straight :
            1. The Convenios operativos by design involved no privatization of the oil industry , Pdvsa retained control/ ownership over the oil , the production , the assets , the operations and the purse strings !! They inovlved developing production which didnt exist and generating income from fields which were unproductive by using the investments of international contractors selected through a competitive bid process .
            2. Very low oil prices meant there werent enough resources for Pdvsa to go it alone in exploiting the very expensive oil belt projects thus justifying the creation of the 4 joint ventures.
            3. The creation of these joint ventures only involved indirect private participation over 11% of the total production .leaving 89% of the production in Pdvsa hands
            4. The creation of these joint ventures was approved by a national congress composed of freely elected representatives acting according to the Law . The approved terms also imposed a framework of contitions on the joint ventures to protect the national interest .and which in fact gave control over the joint ventures to the State .
            5. If the price of oil had been at $100 +per bl there would probably have been no pressure for Pdvsa to enter into any joint venture, or Pdvsa’s participation in them would have been higher .
            6. The current regime has adopted laws and adopted policies which increase foreign participation in in venzuelas oil industry way beyond the 1998 levels , on terms much less favourable to the country and despite the price of oil having climbed above the $100 per bl level . The partners in those joint ventures are for the most part companies belonging to foreign states which have much less to offer Venezuela’s oil industry than those which the regime threw out of the country .
            7. Pdvsa now has a 60% participation on some joint ventures but then lacks the money or resources or operational capacity to put in its share of the capital so it must borrow that money from its partners on terms which compromise its long term autonomy and put in hock venezuelas future production . By the way the orimulsion joint venture approved by the regime had the Chinese retain a 60% participation in the joint venture thus leaving control over the venture to the Chinese. The regimes policies are incoherent and arbitrarily slanted.
            You apparently think that I know these things from having worked in Pdvsa , it is inconcievable to you that anyone closely following the specialized news and having good friends inside it or among its contractors ( then and now) can get to know things that people who dont interest themselves in these topics dont always know . Well your wrong !! BTW are your activities in this blog or generally in favour of the regime in any way funded or financed by its resources or that of its minions?? just out of curiosity.

          • LOL , Quite right Francisco , buzzards dont make for good target practice even when they are such easy prey!!

          • 1) When you sign a contract that forces you to sell these companies the barrel at 20$ when it is 100$ in the open market you clearly don’t understand what owning the oil means. The only way that it is not privatization was if PDVSA paid for services rendered directly.
            2) True
            3) Which over the decades would have meant PDVSA participation of only 40% You have to remember that old wells decline, traditional production declines and PDVSA would have only had 40% of the oil it made almost entirely from the belt.
            4) True, but it does not mean it was not privatized in the 90’s like you amazingly claim, I never said it was ilegal (or even immoral) but it was a fact that was privatized.
            5) Speculation, expertise was also important, but it would have been higher for PDVSA I agree.
            6) This is in direct contradiction to the above, states provide capital which is needed, but expertise is provided by the transnationals.
            7) Loans repaid means control reclaimed, its not the end of the world, these conditional low interest loans from Gasprom et al.
            PS The government does not pay me a dime, actually works against my interests, the difference is that I care about the poor Venezuelan people, and the opposition could not give a shit. Anyways if they paid me I would not be doing a good job since it has been years since I corrected Francisco in the comments section. Not even the government is that lazy to pay someone to take almost half a decade off.

  14. masses are not won by facts BB, but by spin.

    These facts, and all the good faith many commentators in this forum show again and again, mean nothing until the cuban puppets are taken down and a new nationalist driven government/ regime is in charge.

    It is time to spin any messages that help this current ocupation collapse and to set the right foundations fro the rebuiding efforts.

    Any message or activity misaligned to these two fundamental goals, does not help and takes away resources.

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