Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Mountains ouf of Molehills

If there is one thing that is noteworthy about the Venezuelan opposition, and especially our clueless friends at Caracas Chronicles, it is their propensity to make a big deal out of nothing. For example, look at the big fuss they made last year about Venezuelan reserves being "double-spent" when they were transferred to the national development fund Fonden. Despite the fact that this was flat wrong, they went on to say it was going to create horrible inflation, there was going to be a huge shit storm that would bring the whole economy crashing down, and Chavez would have to resort to violence to maintain power. All of that, of course, was completely false, but it didn't stop our clueless friends from amassing a mountain of nonsense about it.

I can't help but notice that our friends are back at it again with their recent criticism of the Orinoco oil deals in Venezuela. Because of one small and completely insignificant detail, they have gone so far as to claim Chavez is "pimping out" Venezuela's oil and claimed the deals are worse than the semi-privatization scheme of the 1990's. But, once again, its much ado about nothing.

The insignificant molehill this time is that the foreign companies get to list their share of the oil reserves as an asset on their balance sheets. Anyone with any sense knows that this is insignificant. The reason it is insignificant is because the Venezuelan government still maintains majority (60%) control and ownership over all these deals. So what difference does it make that the foreign companies can list the oil as an asset when they don't even have control over it? Obviously, it makes no difference at all. But that doesn't stop our clueless friends from hyperventalating over it.

And the comparison to the 1990's deals is ludicrous. The current deals maintain Venezuelan control over all operations, require foreign companies to invest in technological upgrades, and royalties paid to Venezuela are 20 times higher than the 1990's deals. But, for some reason, none of this matters to our clueless friends. The only thing that matters is an entirely insignificant detail of no consequence whatsoever. I guess that's what happens when your hatred for Hugo Chavez doesn't let you see straight: dishonesty prevails and you make mountains out of molehills.