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Predictions, anyone? Chavez continues to flex his socialist muscles as he has now given ExxonMobil an ultimatum: either give him the controlling interest in their company, or lose their Venezuelan operation altogether. This story is notable because ExxonMobil is the only company who has thus far refused Chavez’s “offer they can’t refuse.”
Now, I don’t think anyone had any misconceptions that Chavez would be a ‘nice socialist’, but what was that proverb about being doomed to repeat history? What worries me about the Venezuelan situation is when their economy gets even worse (as it inevitably will), whom do you think Chavez will blame? I suspect he won’t apologize then for his own policies.

David Michael Phelps


  • john

    There are many interesting similarities here between Chavez’ fight with ExxonMobil today and Huey Long’s fight with Standard Oil in the 1920s. Long won that fight, but to Louisiana’s great loss because the threat to capital investment that he institutionalized meant that the wealth creation process was hindered for decades along the Bayou. In many respects, Louisiana has yet to recover. Chavez has Long’s populist appeal and identical “Share the Wealth” philosophy. Both represent textbook cases of why democracy can be detrimental to economic development when it becomes simply a tool for legal plunder and for keeping crooked people in power.

  • An observer

    The blogger asked: “[W]hen their economy gets even worse (as it inevitably will), whom do you think Chavez will blame?

    A: Chavez will most likely take a page from fellow comrade-at-arms and scapegoat artist Harry Belafonte. Belafonte favors firing salvos at George Bush who is, according to Belafonte, the “#1 terrorist in the world!!!”

    The blame game is seductively easy for men like Chavez and/or Belafonte if they can continue to vomit on world leaders, rhetorically, while sashaying about unchecked in popular U.S. fund-raising and media circles.


    In January of 2006, Belafonte led a delegation of Americans including actor Danny Glover and activist/professor Cornel West which met with President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez. Belafonte was quoted as saying, “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution.”