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Hugo Chavez's threat of oil disruption: some tips on how to handle it

By Aleksander Boyd

London 02.03.06 | The Bush administration seems to be at a loss when it comes to deal with Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez. They don't know for certain whether the threat of Venezuelan oil cuts will materialize for the issue has become a typical cry wolf scenario; not even Chavez knows how many times he has uttered that threat. The 'threat,' has become Chavez's favourite card in this presidential elections year. It serves multiple purposes; a) it rattles the oil market hence the "Chavez premium" keeps returning high profits for PDVSA shrinking production, b) it acts as a phenomenal galvaniser amongst both professional and aficionado haters of Bush and USA worldwide, c) it sets the stage in Venezuela quite nicely for the 'asymmetric confrontation' that Chavez is allegedly waging against the Empire and, d) it makes deafening noise in the world's media, so that relevant news get no attention.

The USA is meant to be growing increasingly wary of the Chavez menace, as stated by Rice and Negroponte. To argue, as of today March 2 2006, that his regime represents a real military threat to North America is a solecism. However, borrowing from my wise sister, one should pay extra attention to Chavez's utterances, promises, speeches, agreements and so on:

- Chavez, and his foot soldiers, have made abundantly clear that Venezuela will indeed support Iran no matter what. The areas in which the two countries have agreed to work in partnership include energy, geological and mine projects (check Venezuelan IAEA votes and agreements signed between Mohammad Khatami and Hugo Chavez).

- Venezuela announced that it will purchase a nuclear reactor. Brazilian and Argentine officials confirmed it, stressing that measures would be taken in order to fulfil this ambition (check Marco Aurelio Garcia statements in Salamanca and Rafael Bielsa's promise).

- The relationship between Colombia's narcoguerrillas and Chavez is most amicable, to the point that the FARC is prepared to shed blood defending Chavez should the US launch an attack to Venezuela (check FARC's statements and Rodrigo Granda's bolivarian connections).

- Everyone knows by now that Chavez is modelling his revolution after the Cuban dictatorship. Furthermore Chavez is planning to stay in power indefinitely, just like his idol (check LOFAN and Cuba's corresponding military legislation and Chavez's recent remarks concerning life-presidency).

There's more than enough evidence of Chavez's irresponsible wrongdoings and associations. And while his administration dispatches minions to the four corners of the world to forge alliances with equally minded subjects, in a last-ditch effort to construct favourable public opinion, the USA can easily and cost-effectively throw the bolivarian revolution into a cataclysmic spin. How? Just follow the money trail; freeze and confiscate chavista assets and revoke visas (start with the Florida register of companies). Investigate and charge accordingly the maladroit agents and propaganda outfits operating in US soil. Demand a forensic audit of CITGO before it's too late (you've got until May 15 2006). And finally offer Chavez's regional 'friends' better economic deals. That's it, no need to mobilise troops and spend billions, if one were to give wings to the veracity of the 'threat.'

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