By Luis Britto García – Apr 23, 2022
How long will the world’s proven oil reserves last? In 2016, it was estimated by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that 1.65 trillion barrels remained, which at the annual consumption rate of 35,442,913,090 would last 47 years, of which seven years have already elapsed. In previous articles we pointed out that Venezuela’s reserves are twice that of Saudi Arabia and 13 times those of the United States, which, at the current rate of exploitation, will last only about eight years. These figures have precise consequences for the planet. Let’s see what they mean for Venezuela.
Venezuela has the largest hydrocarbon reserves on the planet, enough to keep it running during the hard, problematic and conflictive decades that a possible transition to renewable energies will take. We must preserve in a zealous, sovereign and inflexible manner the public ownership of these reserves and of the industries that extract, reprocess and export them, following the model of the state-owned oil company PDVSA, and with greater rigor with regard to the subsidiaries. It would be suicidal to fragment the territory into zones rich in natural resources and cede them free of charge to transnationals exempt from paying taxes and respecting labor, social and ecological norms.
We must discard any development plans based on the overexploitation of a labor force considered as the cheapest in the world, progressively stripped of labor and trade union rights, increasingly impoverished by the rising cost of living. The ownership of energy, without which the world cannot function, makes it possible and inevitable to restore our workers’ standard of living and even increase it as our resources become indispensable to the global economy.
Plans focused on attracting all kinds of foreign capital through privileges, advantages and exorbitant exemptions, to the point of providing them with funds to set up their operations and to pay for roads, facilities and equipment for the areas where they settle, at public expense, are not only inappropriate but should be forbidden. The coercive measures of the United States have put an end to the extremes of globalization. The hegemonic countries are adopting policies of autonomy and independence rather than dependence and globalization. Venezuela must use its incomparable energy resources to achieve sovereignty in the production of food and basic items for the national economy. We must review treaties and policies on Intellectual Property and Industrial Standards, which implement and increase technological dependence. Replace policies of privilege, tax immunity and other advantages for foreign investment with others that protect, stimulate and increase national public and private production. To review the unrestricted opening for the laundering of infamous capital, dollarization and the continuation of currency auctions that can only be acquired by large private capital, via Tax Havens. The dollar has lost its status as the universal backing currency, artificially prolonged since 1971 by the petrodollar. China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia have discarded it, while other countries are seeking alternative monetary systems. It would be disastrous to accept or extend dependence on a declining circulating currency. We can and should back our monetary reserve in other currencies, in oil or in gold, of which we possess the first or second largest reserve in the world, and whose value will grow as other monetary indices collapse.
The heaviest burden of the criminal blockade has fallen on the working people. Possible policies of annulling social and labor rights and perpetuating wage insufficiency for the benefit of foreign or national capitals can and will alienate the workers. The prolongation of this unjust division of burdens could translate into a decrease in electoral participation and an increase in social conflict. Let’s restore and improve as a priority the living standards of the labor sector and the participation in the Gross Domestic Product that their work generates. Only socialism can manage in a planned manner for the benefit of all the natural wealth that savage capitalism would dissipate in a senseless scramble for the squandering of plutocracies.
In a multipolar world, Venezuela cannot and should not surrender to just one of the contending blocs, but should manage its relations intelligently and in a balanced manner, appealing to the interests of all. Without detriment to its own sovereignty, Venezuela should use the increased future income for a diplomacy of solidarity, strengthening ALBA, CELAC, UNASUR, CARICOM, MERCOSUR and other regional organizations that may be created or consolidated; strengthening ties with the Non-Aligned Movement and with the powerful emerging Asian groups.
Being the owner of the wealth that is decisive for the survival of civilization imposes on Venezuela the decision and the capacity to defend it. Currently we are threatened by the US Southern Command and Inter-American Forces summoned by the TIAR, a belt of US and NATO bases ready to plunder us. The parceling of the national territory into zones occupied by foreign corporations not subject to our laws and courts would be the most dangerous scenario imaginable for our sovereignty. To defend it, we must strengthen the application of the doctrine of popular battle, increase and equip contingents in combat readiness and shut down the offensive of paramilitary infiltration. We require surveillance and defense systems such as those developed by Russia and China; training to face the threats of Fourth Generation War, Low Intensity Conflict, Information Warfare, Cognitive Warfare; and to establish alliances with organizations of the region and the world to dissuade any aggression.
A strong sense of national identity is the foundation for the defense of the Republic. We must adopt protectionist measures for the diffusion of contents of autochthonous production that express the meaning of being Venezuelan. Multiply public service media and radio stations. Maintain permanent research on the needs, beliefs, values, attitudes, motivations, behaviors and in general the identity of Venezuelans. Migrate towards free software and if possible, operate with our own systems and networks. To update ourselves constantly in the new information technologies, in order to defend ourselves and win the cognitive war that is being waged against us through them. To maintain current, detailed and disseminated information on the situation of natural resources in the world. Terrible decades are coming in which Venezuela’s energy reserves will be more and more indispensable to preserve vestiges of the civilization process. Let us defend them.
Featured image: Oil drilling machinery. Photo: Luis Britto García.
Luis Britto Garcia
Luis Britto García is a Venezuelan writer, playwright and essayist. His fiction has been recognised twice with the Casa de Las Américas Prize, for his works Rajatabla and Abrapalabra. In 2002 he was the winner of Venezuela's National Prize for Literature, given as a lifetime achievement award