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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

AN OIL EXPERT ARGUES THAT WASHINGTON COULD DO WITHOUT VENEZUELAN OIL IMPORTS

This comes from a former senior Venezuelan oil official, who asked me not to be identified by name. He argues that the United States could cut Venezuelan oil imports without causing major disruptions in the U.S. economy. I wanted to share his comments with you, and get your comments. Here he goes:

"Lei tu columna ayer en el Herald. Trae una serie de conversaciones muy interesantes que has tenido con autoridades Colombianas y con expertos forenses en materia de computacion. Excelente tu analisis que de paso comparto. Esta vez quisiera reforzarte algunos puntos en relacion a lo esencial de Venezuela como suplidor a USA y si esto seria un atenuante tal que evitaria que USA le perdone su ingerencia y patrocinio a la FARC.
El crudo Venezolano representa solo el 6% del consumo diario de USA. En una situacion extraordinaria como la que se impondria por sanciones de pais promotor de terrorismo, este crudo puede perfectamente ser reemplazado por los casi 700 millones de la reserva estrategica [SPR] en las cavernas de sal de Louisiana. Es decir alli hay el equivalente de unos 540 dias [1 y 1/2 annos] de importaciones de Vzla. Lo critico es la importacion a USA de productos refinados, dada la situcion de crisis de refinacion inclusive a escala mundial, y en especial la gasolina de motor de la cual se consumen diariamente unos 9 Millones de barriles por dia.
Como en la mayoria de paises industrializados, hay solo 21 dias de stock en USA. Sin embargo en los momentos y debido a la crisis operativa de PDVSA en Vzla, solo estamos enviando un cargamento mensual de 350 mil barriles al mes. Esto es solo el 0.1 % del consumo diario.
Lo que es mas, en una situacion como esta, si USA impone una reduccion de la velocidad maxima en carreteras de 65 a 60 mph [en la crisis de los 70s se bajo la velocidad maxima de 65 a 55 mph], se ahorraria un 10% del consumo de combustibles; es decir 100 veces la cantidad que envia Venezuela.
Algo mas, el huracan Katrina infligió en el mercado petrolero de USA un dano que se ha calculado en:
1. refinacion: de 3 a 5 MM bpd y el cierre de la ultima refineria se mantuvo casi 10 meses; esto es equivalente a mas de 300 Hugos [unidad actual de exportacion de productos de Vzla de 10,000 BPD];
2. En produccion se tuvo cerrado hasta 3 MM BOPD en el Golfo hasta por 5 a 6 meses [ 2 Hugos de produccion];
Colapsó la economia de USA? claro que no, y a las dos semanas el efecto de habia diluido.
La unica manera que Chavez puede hacerle un dano significativo al mercado es si cierra totalmente su produccion y refinacion. Pero, en ese caso, no duraria muchas semanas aun decretando un estado de emegencia y asumiendo poderes dictatoriales."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

INTERESTING EXCHANGE ON THE CONFLICT BETWEEN COLOMBIA AND THE VENEZUELA-ECUADOR ALLIANCE

Interesting exchange on my Sunday column on the microphone war between Colombia and the Venezuela-Ecuador alliance, and the fact that Colombia now has computer files that it could use at any time to demand United Nations sanctions against Venezuela and Ecuador for violating U.N. Security Council anti-terrorism resolutions. Here is former Amb. Diego Arria's entry:
"As a former Representative of Venezuela before the United Nations and to the UN Security Council, and until last year Assistant Secretary General as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General, allow me to address Mr. Richard Cheesman specific comment : “Even if Ecuador and Venezuela had provided material support for the FARC it would not be a violation of the UN resolution outlawing material support for terrorism- as the liar Mr. Oppenheimer suggests. The UN does not have FARC on its list of terrorist organisations and the US empire doesn't have the right to put it on the list for them”
1.Regardless of the UN list-which exists-the crimes committed by FARC are considered crimes against humanity and as such could prompt the UN Security Council Commission to include them in their list-and of course could allow the Security Council to act-if such acts proved to be a threat to the international peace and security.
2. Cooperating with an organization like FARC that kidnap, torture and assassinate people represent clear violations of the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 regarding the duties of the states on this matter, as well as the Inter American Convention that considers that terrorism represents a serious threat to democratic values and reaffirms among others: the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 17, 1979; the International Conventions for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 15, 1997; for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1999.
3. The UN Security Council Resolution does not cite any list-nor needs any list to act. The resolution “Expresses the Security Council to take all necessary steps in order to ensure the full implementation of this resolution, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter”
4. Furthermore the Resolution cites only "entities or persons involved in terrorists acts". Does not mentions lists because it does not need lists to act. The resolution defines acts of terrorism (see below) like the obligation to deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens. It is now public that Ecuador and Venezuela cooperated with the FARC by providing them finance (Venezuela) safe havens from which to commit terrorist acts (Ecuador and not yet documented Venezuela as well) .
5. Moreover the UN Security Resolution reaffirms: the inherent right of individual (Colombia in this case) or collective self-defence as recognized by the Charter of the United Nations as reiterated in resolution 1368 and reaffirms the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,
6. Acting under Chapter VII (**see below) of the Charter of the United Nations, all States shall: (a) Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists; (b) Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information; (c) Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens; (d) Prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes . It is clear that both Venezuela and Ecuador violated those duties.
**Chapter VII sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to take military and nonmilitary action to "restore international peace and security".
Diego E. Arria

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

EL ASOMBROSO GIRO DE CHAVEZ SOBRE LAS FARC

A la luz del minuto de silencio que pidio el Presidente venezolano Hugo Chavez en memoria del difunto jefe de las FARC de Colombia Raul Reyes, y de las afirmaciones del gobierno de Colombia en el sentido de que se encontraron pruebas de que Chavez ofrecio 300 millones de dolares a las FARC, es interesante ver el video de YouTube del discurso de Chavez el 9 de noviembre del 2004, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgd2Sy7Rr2A, donde Chavez juro "por Dios y mi santa madre" que nunca apoyo ni nunca apoyaria la guerrilla colombiana. Que opinan de este giro de Chavez? Se saco la careta, o cambio de parecer?

SOUTH AMERICAN CONFLICT UNMASKS CHAVEZ'S SUPPORT FOR REBEL GROUPS

In light of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez's call for one minute of silence for slain Colombian FARC guerrilla leader Raul Reyes, and Colombia's announcement that it has found computer records referring to a $300 million Chavez government aid package for the FARC, it's interesting to watch Chavez's Nov. 9, 2004, speech in which he swore "by God and my sacred mother" that he never supported nor would ever support a Colombian rebel group. Watch it here on http://www.youtube.com/, at the following link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgd2Sy7Rr2A, and tell us what you think.