As the world churns

How quickly things tend to turn around in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours. It was only a few weeks ago that monkey-boy chavez was threatening to cut off oil exports to the US. Now, with the capture of those FARC laptops in Ecuador by the Colombian government, it appears that chavez just might have that decision made for him.

WASHINGTON — Following up on allegations that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s links to Colombian guerrillas have been much deeper than previously thought, a senior U.S. government official has confirmed that the Bush administration has asked its lawyers to look into what gets a country on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The investigation is the first step in a process that could see Venezuela join North Korea , Cuba , Sudan , Syria and Iran as countries that the State Department has designated as supporters of terrorism.
U.S. laws give leeway to what economic activity is subject to sanctions, but in the extreme, U.S. and many foreign businesses would be forced to sever links with one of the world’s largest producers of oil, severely affecting Venezuela’s oil trade.
The legal review comes after Colombia captured four computers belonging to a FARC guerrilla leader in a raid March 1. The documents suggest that the Venezuelan government was in the process of providing $300 million in assistance to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which U.S. and Colombian officials call a “narco-terrorist” group but Chavez considers a legitimate insurgency.
A senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the subject, said government lawyers had been asked to clarify “what goes into effect in terms of prohibitions or prohibited activities” with the “state sponsor” designation.
U.S. officials are reluctant to predict whether the FARC computer discoveries will lead to sanctions, saying that U.S. investigators must first corroborate their veracity.
If the documents are shown to be true— the official said that the publicly released ones so far looked genuine— then “I think it will beg the question of whether or not Venezuela , given Chavez’s interactions with the FARC, has… crossed the threshold of state sponsor of terror.”
The official said the lawyers hadn’t yet returned with a response.
Such a designation “immediately imposes (restrictions) on the abilities of U.S. companies to work in Venezuela ,” said James Lewis , a former State Department arms trafficking expert who’s now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies , a national-security research center.
U.S. companies would be “forbidden from operating there, forbidden from receiving any money from Venezuela,” Lewis said. “It would make it very hard for Venezuela to sell oil to the U.S. All the arrangements we have now where Venezuelan oil is routinely sent to the United States would have to stop.”

What an interesting turn of events. One moment you’re on top of the world thumbing your nose at the world’s greatest super-power and the next thing you know you’re flat on your back on the verge of losing 60% of your income—just like that.
I guess monkey-boy can always look on the bright side. For a nicely worded and decorative IOU signed by his good friends in Cuba, he can always sell them all that extra crude he may end up being stuck with.

8 thoughts on “As the world churns”

  1. Alberto –
    With Oil at $107/barrel I expect this investigation to proceed with all deliberate sloth.
    I hope I am proven wrong.

  2. Chavez will cut it off before he lets the empire do it. And he won’t live for long after that as the folks around him are making way too much money.

  3. To be honest, I don’t think the US will curtail the import of Venezuelan oil. However, if chavez’s administration is labeled a state sponsor of terror, the US can make their life miserable by stopping all manner of trade except for oil.
    Sure, oil is by far the number one commodity, but what good is all that money if you cannot invest it in the US or use it to buy US goods? In addition, any deals he does with other countries have to be deals which will not involve any US entities somewhere down the line. Economically, such a designation by the US State Dept. would be a huge blow to the Venezuelan economy–an economy that cannot afford any more hits.

  4. I don’t believe anyone will be able to make a credible argument against listing Venezuela as a “state sponsor of terrorism” and that saddens me.
    The fact of the matter is, Chavez IS indeed paying and arming a known terrorist group of narco-traffickers. This could very well cause the nation to be listed among the “sponsors list” and will reflect poorly on a largely innocent population of Venezuelans who – while they got what they asked for when the put this bozo into power – are increasingly realizeing what a mistake it was. Nobody wins in this situation folks, nobody.

  5. If this were to happen I am sure there would be a “special” clause or exception as there is with the paper embargo and we will continue to do business with Venezuela. Money always comes first.

  6. AB:
    You’re right that this situation has no winners. But the saddest part is that these wounds have all been self-inflicted. chavez could have easily kept his hands in the Venezuelan people’s pocket–instead of trying to cash in on practically every other nation in South America–and lived a long despotic life with nary a whisper of complaint from the US. Instead, he has bitten off way more than he can chew and now not only is he going down hard, but he is pulling Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, and a host of others down with him. All because of his obsession with being important.
    It is truly sad so many will be hurt by one man’s insecurity.

  7. What about the FARC purchase/sale of Uranium? When, where, and with whom were these arangements made?
    Perhaps through chavez during one of his many visits to Cuba? Did chavez and the castro bros. conspired with Russian Viktor Bout?

  8. The price of crude notwithstanding, it’s easier for the U.S. to replace Venezuelan crude than for Venezuela to find to a new buyer. The reason is that Venezuelan crude is heavy and contains large amounts of sulphur. Right now only U.S. refineries can handle it outside of Venezuela. I’d be willing to pay $10 a gallon for a couple of months if it means that Chavez ends up catching a bullet with his face.

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