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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

01 August 2006

The other Hugo

There is no end to the trouble that Hugo Chavez seems to be causing around the world. His most recent extravaganza was a world tour that included buying arms from Russia, a few handshakes with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, and a feeble attempt to shore up revolutionary credentials by visiting an erstwhile American enemy, Vietnam.

But whatever the bombastic rhetoric, there is a pragmatic side to Hugo Chavez, as is evident by two pieces of news from Caracas. The first is that Venezuela and Colombia have begun constructing a gas pipeline that will link Colombia to the remote Venezuelan region of Zulia (link); for seven years, Colombia will export gas to Venezuela, which will return the favor once it develops its own gas fields. The second is that Venezuela has almost reached an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago to develop jointly cross-border fields that hold approximately 10 tcf in gas reserves. Technical details are the only remaining issues to be worked out by the countries.

Not meaning to overstate the significance of the news, but remember that both Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago are American allies, and that Venezuelan relations with Colombia have been inimical for years. That there is a pragmatic side to Chavez may not mean much, but at least in a world that lives with constant insecurity, to see a country such as Venezuela deepen energy ties with neighbors that hardly share Chavez’ enthusiasm for Bolivar is heartening.

Curtis Williams, “Venezuela, Trinidad to jointly develop fields,” Oil & Gas Journal Online, 25 Jul 06



Blogger Alex Stratis said...

Talk in Politics is cheap and has always been. Chavez has been cultivating the image of a new Bolivarian hero, trying to rid South America from the "evil" US.

But he is not a fool and his energy policies as you can attest have proven that. He still supplies oil to the US and as you mention in the post, he has embarked on agreements with neighbors that do not share or care for his bolivarian revolutionism.

"Realpolitik" is still alive, make no mistake about it.Cheers!

12:30 AM  

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