Last week, Venezuela announced plans to get its gold back on home soil. Today I ask: Is Venezuela biting off more than it can chew? Presenting my must-view chart of the day:
Take your time and drink that in. According to OPEC, Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, larger even than the mythically large ones of Saudi Arabia. More than double of those in Iraq — the nation Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush invaded merely three years after it took the drastic step of dumping the dollar. And more than Iran, another middle-Eastern nation earmarked for “regime change”.
The question I want to ask is — just what the hell does Chavez think he is doing? He called George W. Bush “Satan incarnate“. He even claimed in 2009 that “investors should stay away from “poisoned” U.S. Treasuries and can instead earn interest from “very good” Argentine bonds.” And now he demands the nation’s gold reserves — previously stored in Western banks — returned. Just what does he think he is doing playing chicken with a hegemonic superpower, and one heavily influenced by quasi-religious military-industrial elite who love a good war? Wouldn’t Rick Perry or Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann any of the pugnacious, bloodthirsty neocons (I would include Obama in that tally) just love to role up and liberate Caracas? Wouldn’t Halliburton do a damn good job of reconstruction? Shouldn’t Blackwater be allowed to create jobs with their private security operations? From the BBC:
Venezuela has announced a $16bn (£10bn) investment deal with China for oil exploration in the Orinoco river. The move comes shortly after Venezuela signed a similar agreement with Russia, which is estimated to be $20bn (£12bn).President Hugo Chavez said the deals would boost oil production in Venezuela by about 900,000 barrels per day.Investors in Venezuela’s oil industry have complained for months that a lack of government investment in infrastructure has hurt production.
Now I understand! China would never let its oil fiefdom — with larger proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia — get “liberated“. Which is why Venezuela can afford to play chicken with America, safe in the knowledge that America will probably do nothing.