Skip to comments.Venezuela & USA: Has the lion awakened?
Posted on 02/14/2005 3:02:09 PM PST by Bald Eagle777
After six years of stoic tolerance, the United States is awakening from the lethargy with which it has responded to President Chávez continuous verbal attacks. Perhaps it is beginning to see that it ought to take notice of the pronouncements made by this revolutionary, as, where Chávez is concerned, there seems to be no slip twixt cup and lip.
The Bush administration is also beginning to realize that the influence of the Venezuelan president, supported by his ally Fidel Castro, could affect the peace and stability of Latin America.
Until recently, the U.S. Presidents response to President Chávez constant verbal attacks was condescending, weak even. Now the tone is changing. The first sign of this was a statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assuring that there was nothing positive to highlight in the Bolivarian revolution, classifying the Chávez administration as a negative force for the region and urging Latin American countries to take note of what is happening with democracy in Venezuela.
The second was the claim by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega that it would take his country only a few weeks to find a substitute for Venezuelan oil, but that it would take Venezuela years to find buyers for its crude, words that sound almost like a warning that the United States can live without Venezuela, anticipating Chávez intention of using oil as a political weapon.
The third came from an unidentified officer at the Department of State who said, when referring to the Venezuelan governments purchase of MiG 29s from Russia, we shoot down MiGs. Thats straight talking.
And the fourth is the formal complaint that the United States submitted this week to Russia regarding the sale of 100,000 Kalashnikov Ak-47 assault rifles to Venezuela. This protest was accompanied by a statement from Department of State spokesman Adam Ereli, in which he expressed Washingtons concern over the sale of weapons to Venezuela and their potentially destabilizing effect in the Hemisphere, claiming that these weapons could end up in the hands of the FARC, because these groups operate in that country.
All this points to the opening of a new phase in relations with the United States, with serious implications for Venezuela.
No question Chavez will be a problem in the near future. He needs to go and soon.....
This guy reminds me of Ghaddafi in the 80's.
"Reach out and *touch* someone..."?
Armalite AR-10 7.62 x 51mm (.308cal) or Barrett M82A1 .50cal BMG? Several Class III Options. Lotsa Leupold Glass.
I got both; name yer poison, c.
Cool, Lets Go, You have to buy the Beer though.........
but do you have 100,000 of them to make Russia compete..lol
and you know, President Chávez, probably drives a SUV
One each, s; what do I look like? The US Goobermint, using your tax dollars, to entice competition, at a loss? And declare it a victory? Duh.
If we lose Venezuela we'll lose Columbia. Bye-Bye South America.
Oil-seeking China steps on US toes
The United States has long regarded Central and South America as part of its backyard; and Canada as an extension of its front porch.
But recent forays by China into the Western Hemisphere are challenging US influence. They are part of Beijing's frenetic global search for large supplies of oil-based energy.
The search has recently taken it to Canada and Venezuela, which together provide about 25 per cent of US oil imports.
While China is not yet buying oil that might otherwise have gone to the US, the Bush Administration is watching closely as state-owned companies from China clinch long-term supply deals in the neighbourhood that could threaten America's energy security.
Reflecting this concern, the US Government Accountability Office - the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress - last month began a study of the risk of potential oil supply interruptions from Venezuela, which is the source of over 10 per cent of US crude oil imports.
Meanwhile, Canada and China on January 20 signed a joint Statement on Energy Co-operation in the 21st Century during a visit to Beijing by Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
It opens the way for Chinese firms to establish partnerships with Canadian energy companies.
A month earlier, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in Beijing that he had signed agreements that would allow Chinese companies to explore for oil, set up refineries and produce natural gas in the energy-rich South American country.
The deal came amid escalating tensions between Caracas and Washington, as the leftist Chavez vowed to reduce Venezuela's dependence on the US oil market by broadening its customer base.
In the six years he has been in power, Chavez has threatened on several occasions to cut off oil supplies to the US in response to what he asserts are persistent attempts by Washington to meddle in Venezuela's internal affairs.
Beijing wants to diversify energy sources for the rapidly growing Chinese economy, as domestic oil output declines and concerns about over-reliance on the volatile Gulf grow.
Venezuela has the Western Hemisphere's largest conventional proven oil reserves. It sells 60 per cent of its crude oil exports to the US and is America's fourth-largest supplier.
Canada is the largest. Huge deposits of oil sands in Alberta province make up the vast bulk of Canada's total proven crude oil reserves of almost 179 billion barrels, the second biggest in the world behind Saudi Arabia.
Oil sands contain black viscous oil. They must be mined and the oil processed before it can be burned as heavy fuel oil or refined into petrol and diesel fuels.
Until now, the sands have been uneconomic. But with oil prices above US$40 ($56.11) per barrel and likely to stay high, and with advances in recovery techniques, the economics of extracting oil from the sands are becoming more attractive. This has caught China's eye.
A joint statement issued on January 20 says Canada and China have decided to work together to promote co-operation in the oil and gas sector, including Canada's oil sands, as well as in the uranium resources sector.
The two sides have set up a joint working group on energy co-operation and will encourage their companies to establish partnerships in these sectors.
One such project is a plan to build a pipeline at a cost of over US$2 billion from Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, to the Pacific coast for shipment of oil to China.
But it will not be plain sailing for Chinese energy companies in either Canada or Venezuela.
Martin's minority Government is coming under pressure to safeguard Canadian resources.
His Industry Minister, David Emerson, has said he is concerned that enterprises owned or controlled by the Chinese Government may not be entirely market motivated.
He is looking at how to strengthen the investment law to protect Canadian interests when foreign entities buy domestic firms.
Chinese companies have agreed to invest US$350 million in 15 oil fields in Venezuela and US$60 million in a gas venture, and to import 120,000 barrels of Venezuelan fuel oil a month.
Refineries in China will have to be refitted since most cannot process the heavy crude oil exported by Venezuela. This may take several years. It is also more expensive to ship oil to China.
Despite these obstacles, some US officials and analysts are worried.
"Every barrel of oil China buys in the Americas means one less barrel available for the US," says Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, DC.
"This means that the US will have to be more reliant on oil from more remote and less stable regions, primarily West Africa, the Caspian and, above all, the tumultuous Middle East."
And I suppose you two fine chaps fancy that the Bush administration is clueless.
Oh, and welcome to FR.
Rice: nothing positive to highlight Well put.
"We shoot down MIGs"... Interesting off the record message, gets the point across. Using oil to black mail the U.S. isn't intelligent. Also opening up the possibility to get a large quantity of AKs into the hands of Marxist guerillas who terrorize innocent civilians isn't particularly smart either. I doubt they have the technological infrastructure to service the MIGs long term (without Russian "advisors" helping), or the skilled pilots for that matter. Should they get airborne we can clean them up pretty quickly, plus the airfields.
AWACS help, of course, wherever we can get these deployed. Not everywhere yet, sadly. Russia and China do have different areas in which they feel they can quiety use leverage against us.
Red Hook Blondes, Yum, Yum makes a mission fun!
That is one of the most misleading statements I've seen.
Of course, oil sands contain black viscous oil!
Oil sands also contain Saudi Light, the most crackable oil in the world!
The author misleads first by talking about Venezulean Heavy then leads right into Alberta oil sands as if they're one and the same!
China soaking up our share of Venezulean oil doesn't have a lot of impact. China has a lot of roads to pave.
China acquiring any of our share of Canadian oil is very serious. I would hope the diplomatic messages are flying fast and furious.
The State Department? Our State Department?
Yes! They can be taught!
Whoever this person is (I won't exclude the possibility that it is 44) I like them A LOT!!
Let the little dick-tator try an dodge 750 gr APIT for a while....that'll shut him up. Hopefully forever.
Bada bing, bada BOOM!
We shoot down MiGs......
Is that an indication of a major sea change at State!?!?!?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.