Thursday, August 9, 2007

A letter to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez: On the subject of his oil handouts to Fidel Castro.

*Gustavo Coronel:
A letter to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez:
On the subject of his oil handouts to Fidel Castro.


Mr. President:

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that your recent public declaration about Venezuela and Cuba being “one single nation” and about the 93,000 barrels of oil per day you have been delivering to Fidel Castro for about four years constitute acts of treason.

Let me tell you why:

1. Your decision to send Venezuelan oil to Fidel Castro was never properly consulted with the Venezuelan nation. Venezuelans would have rejected this handout due to our immense and unfulfilled needs. The subsidy you are giving Fidel Castro is estimated at some $2.3 billion per year. After the 15 year-life of the agreement you will have given Castro an amount of Venezuelan money that is similar to the current international financial reserves of our country. This is a gift of abnormal proportions, an act of aggression against the Venezuelan people;

2. You claim that “only lackeys of imperialism” object to these handouts. This is typical of your arrogance and the manner you deal with those who oppose your decisions. Recently you have accused the members of the Brazilian Congress and the Cardinal of Honduras, in addition to the Venezuelans who dare to dissent from your actions, of being “lackeys of the empire”. In your eyes, therefore, I will also be a lackey because I have no doubt that you are illegally giving away to Fidel Castro our national property, resources that do not belong to you but to the Venezuelan people. You will have to answer for this when your time comes;

3. The supply of oil to Fidel Castro is being done in terms that are totally adverse to the interests of the Venezuelan people. The low interests, the periods of grace, the payment in services which cannot be properly quantify constitute a fraud against the Venezuelan nation;

4. Oil, as you should know, is a non-renewable resource. It was formed in nature millions of years ago, when your political regime was not around. Giving oil away, exchanging it for political favors, bartering it for bananas, black beans Cuban bodyguards and pseudo medical staff, constitutes a criminal management of this resource. In the name of all Venezuelans I protest for this detrimental aggression against our nation;

5. You argue that the volumes of oil being given to Fidel Castro are “small”, as compared to the amounts Venezuela has supplied to the U.S. for “one hundred years”, in occasions “a gift”. Let me tell you that Venezuela has never given away its oil as you do today. It always obtained money for its exports. The money coming from oil has often been wasted by governments, but never in greater amounts than today, under your regime. The only Venezuelan president that has given oil at great subsidies to U.S. citizens is you, through a program of “oil for the poor” that already costs us over $100 million and targets U.S. communities that have an average income ten times higher than the average income of millions of Venezuelans. You do it for political propaganda, at the expense of our real national needs.

6. You say that Cuba “is already paying more than it has to” for the oil you send Castro. This is an irresponsible statement on two counts: one, you validate the irregular payments Cuba is making and, two; you open the doors to increased demands from Castro. This is double treason.

Finally you say that today “Cubans and Venezuelans are one and the same nation”. I protest against this servile assertion. We are free citizens, not slaves. We have no wish to belong to a single nation under the bloody paws of a dictator that has recruited you as heir. One thing is to feel solidarity with the peoples of the hemisphere. A different thing is to become oxen driving the wagon of Latin American despotism. All-out resistance from democracy loving Venezuelans will meet your attempts in this direction. .

*Gustavo Coronel is a 28 years oil industry veteran, a member of the first board of directors (1975-1979) of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), author of several books. At the present Coronel is Petroleumworld associate editor and advisor on the opinion and editorial content of the site. All Coronel's articles can be read in his blog www.lasarmasdecoronel.

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