Citgo? Really? Hugo Chavez, US Relations with Venezuela, and Oil Prices

Many Americans are calling for boycott of Citgo products laTely. Why? The fact that Citgo is 100% owned by the government of Venezuela of which the president is none other than Hugo Chavez – essentially making him the leader of the Citgo company. Coupled with the continuing rising costs of fuel and energy, many are suspect foul-play somewhere in the pricing scheme. With the recent attention Mr. Chavez has brought to himself this week, the masses are discovering the linkage between him, Citgo, OPEC, and his intentions for North America to pay HIS PRICE for the barrel.

US political leaders spanning party lines have had enough of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez's political circus. At the UN annual meeting in New York Tuesday (9/19/06) Chavez referred to President Bush as "The Devil" . In his brash speech that rocked political leaders, Chavez uttered, "The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today." Later Tuesday, Chavez kept up his criticism of Bush during a visit to Harlem on Thursday, calling the US president "a sick man" who is unqualified for the job.

In response to Chavez's speech at the UN on Tuesday, Charles Rangel (Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York) publicly scolded, "You do not come into my country; you do not come into my congressional district and you don ' T condemn my president. "

Even strong Bush critic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was blunt in her criticism of the Venezuelan leader. "He is an everyday thug," she claimed.

But where did all this rigmarole originate from? Historically, relations between the US and Venezuela have been good , but since Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, relations went south. Chavez immediately began leading his country on a far left leaning and anti-North American path that remains to this day, and unfortunately, the long-standing close diplomatic relationship between Venezuela and the United States continues to progressively worsen.

Examples include Chávez's public friendship and significant trade relationship with Cuba and Fidel Castro, under the US policy of isolating Cuba. Additionally, long-running ties between the US and Venezuelaan militias were severed on Chávez's initiative. In 2000, Chavez became the first foreign head of state to visit Iraq since the 1991 Gulf war, in spite of strong opposition from the US and others. His reckless course did not come without a price though. In 2002 their national currency (the Bolivar) tanked 25% against the US dollar following their denial of exchange rate controls. His parade marches on and on. If it displeases the United States, Hugo Chavez is all for it.

Being the only South American country belonging to OPEC, Chavez is suspected of conspiring to keep oil prices peaking for his own obvious political and economic gain . Chaves is quoted as saying, "The barrel could reach $ 200 from one day to the other … the US government can not forget about the 1.5 million barrels of oil that we send every day and which contributes enough to its development." Although throughout the 1990's (especially precedenting the Chavez era) the barrel cost of oil was hovered in the $ 20 range, Chavez has a LOT of crude control and he knows it. According to US sources, Venezuela holds 90% of the world's extra heavy crude oil.

In his comment to the BBC admitting price-fixing intentions, "We have the largest oil reserves in the world, we have oil for 200 years." Mr Chávez told the BBC's Newsnight program in an interview to be broadcast tonight. "$ 50 a barrel – that's a fair price, not a high price."

According to Wikipedia, "Chávez's status as an OPEC price hawk has raised the price
Of oil for the United States, as Venezuela pushed OPEC producers toward a higher price, around $ 25 a barrel. During Venezuela's presidency of OPEC in 2000, Chávez made a ten-day tour of OPEC countries, in the process becoming the first head of state to meet Saddam Hussein since the Gulf War. The visit was controversial at home and in the US, although Chávez did respect the ban on international flights to and from Iraq (he violated from Iran, his previous stop). "

For consumers who already are disenfranchised by the prices at the pump, this recent Chavez fiasco was the last straw. "I just can not give up my hard-earned money to Chavez's government-run Citgo." A motorist was quoted as saying, "Not any other, not after all this. You disrespect my country, my President and our way of life and the people will take their business elsewhere. It's as simple as that."

Source by Dan Wright

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