Sunday, November 18, 2007

Update: 10a.m., 20/11/07: The presidents of Iran and Venezuela, whilst signing energy, finance and industry agreements, foresee the downfall of the "U.S. Empire" due to the weak dollar. Chavez called it a strategic alliance: here in El Universal: "...pronto no hablaremos de dólares, el dólar se hunde y con él se hunde el imperio de Estados Unidos, gracias a Dios y a las luchas de los pueblos. Hay que pedirle a Dios que acelere el fin del perverso imperio de EEUU". A rough translation of which is:
"Soon we won't talk in dollars, the dollar is in downfall and with it the US Empire, thanks to God and the efforts of our people. We should ask God to speed up the end of the perverse US Empire"
The news in English from China View: Venezuela and Iran to work against US: "they will defeat U.S. imperialism together, noting that the fall of the dollar is a prelude to the end of Washington's global dominance."
Only the third OPEC summit in 47 years - the 2nd one was in Caracas in 2000. This had more than a few issues to discuss: the weak dollar and high oil price; energy security and internal divisions etc. Chavez used his opening speech to take another swipe at the USA suggesting what could happen if they committed “una locura”: "If the United States was mad enough to attack Iran or aggress Venezuela again the price of a barrel of oil could reach $150 or even $200," He added that "The basis of all aggression is oil. It is the underlying reason," and I think we know what and who he had in mind. He also suggested that due to their beneficial position they should do more on the political stage:

"Today, Opec stands strong. It is stronger than it has ever been in the past. Opec should set itself up as an active geopolitical agent."
Ecuador, rejoining OPEC at this summit and now governed by ‘Chavite/Chavista’ Rafael Correa agreed. Another thorn in the side was Iran's disagreement on which points OPEC should be concentrating: Iranian officials wanted the final statement to express concern about the weakness of the dollar. We know why! Chavez and Almadinejad are buddies and I wonder how far the 'alliance' would go if one or the other was really attacked. During last year's ominous outlook Chavez said,

"We will stand beside Iran in every time and occasion and under every circumstance."
Hosting the summit, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was a voice of reason and hopefully a brake on what Chavez is trying to do:

"Those who want Opec to take advantage of its position are forgetting that Opec has always acted moderately and wisely. "Oil shouldn't be a tool for conflict; it should be a tool for development."
Off on a tangent...regarding oil prices, they are quick to defend who gets what from the price of a barrel: this graph shows clearly what is the take in the G7 countries. "In the UK, for example, the government receives substantially more from taxation than what OPEC gets from the sale of its oil." In fact that graph/figure doesn't include VAT which is the UK's case clearly a tax on tax!

To digress even more, but remaining on the twin topics of Chavez and the UK (but not getting waylaid onto the hilarious hoohah of last week - that won't go away - with the Spanish King, which is now, amongst other things, a ringtone hit! ) last week saw what Venezuela Analysis called "London Hosts Most Representative European Conference To Date On Venezuela" hosted by Ken Livingstone with the following UK representatives: Diane Abbott MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, George Galloway MP. Hahahahahahahahah...a wonderful joke...if it were not serious. Red Ken hopes to help Chavez with Caracas' transport/traffic problems, a noble aim, however he says:
"As we meet Venezuela is debating a new series of constitutional reforms to strengthen democratic participation. I particularly welcome plans to transform the capital, Caracas."
I cannot believe Livingstone is that naive so there must be other reasons why he is ignoring what is really happening in Venezuela. The reforms are anything but "strengthening democratic participation! The following from "In fact, Mr. Chavez's rewrite would complete his transformation into an autocrat. It would lengthen his presidential term from six to seven years and remove the current limit of two terms, allowing him to serve indefinitely. He would have broad powers to seize property, to dispose of Venezuela's foreign exchange reserves, to impose central government rule on local jurisdictions and to declare indefinite states of emergency under which due process and freedom of information would be suspended."

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