Leader Threatens to Stop Sending U.S. Oil
By George Anderson
The price of oil has risen to a post-Iraq war high after President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela threatened to suspend shipments to the United States if it did not stop interfering in the work of his democratically elected government.
According to a report on the English-language Venezuela Electronic News Web site, Mr. Chavez Frias said, “If Mr. Bush is possessed with the madness of trying to blockade Venezuela, or worse for them, to invade Venezuela in response to the desperate song of his lackeys … sadly not a drop of petroleum with come to them from Venezuela.”
Market analysts believed Chavez Frias is capable of carrying out the threat as he did against the Dominican Republic only a few months ago in a dispute over the extradition of corruption-convicted Venezuelan ex-President Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) who took timely advantage of a USA safe haven to remove himself from what was becoming a belligerent diplomatic impasse.
Moderator’s Comment: Can the U.S. economy continue to rebound if the world oil supply
situation does not stabilize? What is the answer to our dependence on foreign oil?
Mr. Chavez Frias believes the U.S. has been behind unsuccessful efforts to have him recalled from office. Demonstrations against Mr. Chavez Frias’ government
have turned violent in some instances.
The threat of a loss of oil from Venezuela only added pressure to a market that has seen prices steadily rising with the recent announcement by the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that they planned to reduce output by 1 million barrels a day (see RetailWire,
2/16/04, Prices At Pump May Reach $3). – George
Anderson – Moderator