Skip to comments.Venezuela's Chavez says he'll declare emergency and militarize company if oil workers strike
Posted on 03/17/2002 1:31:14 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez is ready to declare a state of emergency if oil-workers at the nation's state-owned oil monopoly try to paralyze production.
Chavez accused opposition labor and political leaders of sowing discontent at Petroleos de Venezuela SA and said he had a contingency plan ready should workers and management go on strike. He didn't elaborate on the plan.
"If they shut down the company, we'll militarize it. I am not going to allow Petroleos de Venezuela to be shut down," Chavez said.
"It won't bother me to continue to fulfill my obligation, to sign an emergency decree. This is a company of high strategic value, and I am ready to order its intervention and throw out those who don't want to be there," he said.
Hundreds of oil company administrators have been protesting Chavez's appointment of five people to PDVSA's seven-member board of directors, calling them politically motivated.
Some have raised the possibility of a strike, although other managers last week said they supported Chavez's appointments.
"I have the constitutional authority (to appoint directors), and no one can challenge that," Chavez said Sunday during the 100th edition of his weekly radio and TV show, "Hello President."
"I have a plan ready. If they want (to strike), go ahead," he said.
Chavez called the dissident managers "immoral" for placing Venezuela's key source of income in jeopardy and accused them of belonging to a political class that had robbed the company for decades.
Dissident managers will be fired if they continue protesting, he warned.
He accused the opposition Venezuelan Workers Confederation and Democratic Action party of trying to instigate a strike at the company, which employs 40,000 people and is the third biggest supplier of crude to the United States.
"PDVSA isn't a state within a state. The company belongs to all Venezuelans," Chavez said.
"Some people have no reason to be (at PDVSA)," Chavez said, accusing some managers of earning "obscene salaries that go beyond the imagination. ... They are out of line. Absolutely out of line."
In a freewheeling celebratory edition of "Hello President," Chavez claimed credit for a rise in global oil prices, including production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers.
Chavez visited oil-producing nations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas last year to lobby for coordinated production cuts. OPEC decided last week to maintain the cuts, which have helped bring OPEC oil prices to above dlrs 22 a barrel.
Prices plunged after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States and a subsequent slump in world demand, but have rebounded in recent months.
Chavez bills "Hello President" as an alternative to what he calls biased news media coverage of his presidency. Sunday's 100th edition featured folkloric music, calls from Venezuelans seeking Chavez's help for their problems or thanking him for his help, a congratulatory telephone call to OPEC secretary-general.
Elected in 1998, Chavez plans on being president until 2021 - and he said Sunday he looked forward to celebrating a 3000th edition of "Hello President."
I believe he's dying to seize control of the oil company.
Venezuelans convinced Chavez is doomed-- Angel Alvarez, director of the political studies institute at the Central University in Caracas, says Chavez has failed to deliver on his promises to improve living conditions and end corruption, and has no clear plan how to do so. "Chavez has shown no ability to maintain stable alliances and lacks an adequate policy toward the opposition," Alvarez said.
Venezuelans hope people power will persuade Chavez to resign But analysts say that the current surge of dissatisfaction in South America is rooted in the entrenched poverty and deficiencies of governments. The region's decadelong commitment to democracy, which was heralded as a panacea, instead has generated a crisis of expectations that is proving contagious.
U.S. planning to keep corrupt Latin American officials out-- ''People will understand that we are serious about going after government corruption,'' he added. ``There is a very selfish reason for this: We end up paying for the bill when these people steal the money, because we have to provide aid, or accept the citizens as refugees or as migrants.''
Chavez is an anti-clerical control freak -- i.e., a Communist.
That's his big plan, and it was planned all along, that and keeping martial law up and running.
Place yer bets
Davis tried the same thing in California with electricity using the same reasoning........Hmmmm.
I think you do too!
LOL.....They all use the same playbook.
He isn't dying fast enough to suit me. Why doesn't somebody hurry him along!
Oh, you're so mean-spirited!! But I like it.
Or "soon" it will be too late.