Wednesday, January 22, 2003

things you know... [BBC]
Venezuela will close its currency markets for five days in an attempt to stem capital flight....

And as the political and financial turmoil increases, more multinational firms are fleeing Venezuela. Microsoft is the latest firm to close its two Venezuelan offices, while Ford Motors has told its employees to leave next week.

... things you don't know [Hustler]
PALAST: What's not discussed in the American press is that the president of Venezuela, who they say is a Communist and a dictator, was, in fact, elected in a democratic election. In that regard, it's worth noting that our President's spokesman said, "Winning a majority of the vote does not make your government legitimate."

HUSTLER: Who should know better?

PALAST: [The U.S. government has] been working on getting rid of Chavez, because he's not only president of Venezuela, he also got to choose the president of OPEC, and I haven't read that anywhere in the U.S. press. He controls the biggest pool of available oil. Saddam Hussein's oil fields, if we do invade, will be in flames. Where do we get the oil to make up for the losses in a war? One place, Venezuela, which pulled our bacon out of the fire during the Arab oil embargo of the '70s.

HUSTLER: Didn't Chavez piss off U.S. oil companies by restructuring his deal with them?

PALAST: Here is a guy who said, "Look, I've got a nation where millions of people are living in cardboard houses. We're raising the price of oil, I'm taking over OPEC, I'm putting it back together, and I'm gonna take that money and rebuild the ghettos of Caracas," which he did. And that cost a lot of money, which he got by doubling the royalties on foreign corporations taking out the oil. They were getting 16% royalties -- this is the Venezuelans' own oil, after all -- and Chavez said, "We'll take 30%. You get 70%. Is that a deal?" The response from the Bush Administration was to get the guy kidnapped. And our ambassador, a political toady named Charles Shapiro, ran down from the U.S. Embassy to put his arm around the guys who are literally holding the president of the country hostage. You have to imagine what this looks like to the rest of the people in the world. Of course, we didn't see that. We're not permitted to find out what's happening in our news media.

God bless you, Larry Flynt. Guess I have to read this guy's book now. [via skimble, via sideshow].

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