By G. A. Mercado
Petroleum and its derivatives became Venezuelan main exports since it started to be exploited back in 1922,. At first, U.S. and British Oil companies took it all, only paying 1% on royalties for “declared exports”.
During this period Venezuelan farming began to be neglected, forcing peasants to abandon their former exploiters (farmers) and gradually migrate to the oil fields or to the capital at best, reducing to a minimum the traditional coffee and cocoa crops and exports.
In 1945 a 50–50 partnership on oil exports net profits took place between the Venezuelan Government and the Standard Oil of New Jersey; as a result, a dozen politically-well-connected Venezuelan families made riches by getting the dollars from the government’s oil income, using only a fraction of it to import raw materials and assembly lines, only to package whatever the oil companies and the locals should consume while keeping the dollars flow to the north. This practice has remained intact, even today.
Not a one single engine, or motor of anything, was designed much less produced, thus consolidating a historical port-economy and strengthening the dependency on the two new masters: the U.S. dollar and consumerism.
In the midst of the 1973 oil embargo, a better deal took place, all foreign oil companies operating in Venezuela were “nationalized”; that is, the government paid to assume all the decaying oil-related infrastructure and increasing liabilities while the export royalties went back to 1%. A dream-deal would say Trump.
Oil prices collapsed in the 1980s, the economy contracted and inflation rose, peaking to 84% in 1992 and 100% in 1996. The percentage of people living in poverty rose from 36% in 1984 to 66% in 1995, with the country suffering a severe banking crisis in 1994. In 1998, the economic crisis had grown even worse. Per capita GDP was at the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak; and the purchasing power of the average salary was a third of its 1978 level. See Economy of Venezuela.
This led to a patriotic ex-military commander to win elections in 1999, who in the year 2000 started to implement some new policies to re-distribute the wealth and to fundamentally change the crippled Venezuelan economic model. Two months prior the the 2001 Washington supported a military coup that attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan leader, George Tenet declared to a U.S. Senate Committee that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez “probably doesn’t have the interests of the United States at heart.” Of course, he did not.
Since then, Venezuela and its government has been in the world fake-news narrative from dictators wanna be and false democracy to right out dictatorship (despite of 20+ elections that have taken place since 1999, that is right, an average of one per year), rigged elections (where even the opposition have had their own significant victories), violation of human rights (while U.S.-funded opposition political parties have burned hospitals and kindergartens with children inside and burned people alive).
Venezuela is also now famous for humanitarian crises (while private companies have sabotaged food and medicine local production and distribution), starvation (while the U.S. has put a financial and commercial embargo on the Venezuelan Government), corruption (while the U.S. and the British banks have frozen and taken the Venezuelan gold and reserve cash accounts), and failed state (while electronic and cyber warfare is being waged against the Venezuelan people), crippling a neglected electrical infrastructure.
Do we have corrupted and/or incompetent political officials ? Yes, we do, like in any other country, in any other society, where personal greed and weak political convictions overwhelms the trust and the responsibility conferred onto a human being elected or appointed to serve others.
Is the dark blue pill too hard to swallow or does the red pill just feel better?
Don´t believe it? That is fine, come over, I will give you a personal tour.