Vas al Cielo y Vas Llorando Chronicles

stairs-to-heavenNot three weeks ago, Venezuela scored a big win over ExxonMobil, when the long-running saga over International Arbitration following Chávez’s 2006 expropriation of their extra-heavy oil upgrader in the Faja del Orinoco resulted in an award much smaller than expected. Exxon had originally wanted $20 billion out of the deal; arbitrators awarded it just $1.6 billion, $600 million of which had already been paid.

How big a win was it? So big PDVSA held special events to celebrate it.

So, naturally, now we’re appealing that decision.


One of two things is going on here. Either the super-fancy and well-worth-top-dollar New York Law Firm representing Venezuela at ICSID, Curtis Mallet-Prevost, has persuaded Ramírez they can get an even better settlement on appeal or the government is now so strapped for cash they’re willing to try any delaying tactic to avoid having to pay up right away.

I don’t know which one it is.

I do know that in the current climate, with markets freaking out again and again about Venezuela’s credit-worthiness over threats real and imagined, the regime might be well advised to employ some top dog P.R. people to go along with their top dog lawyers.

It’s simply shocking that when a story like this comes out Reuters is forced once again to run the ritualistic “neither Venezuela’s oil ministry, nor state oil company PDVSA, responded to phone calls and emails by Reuters seeking comment.”

You’re appealing a decision you were celebrating on cadena nacional this month, coño, surely somebody could explain what’s going on!!

No dice. Even this late in the game, there’s just no strategy for managing perceptions of defaultiness: stories hit the wires, one after another, with evident potential to spook investors, and nobody in power has a word to say about it.

En serio, contrátenme a mi…I could use the cash.