Damn that irrepressible Chavecito, he’s sure keeping me hopping with all the news about him today. Get a load of his latest zany antic…
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has called on oil-rich nations to dramatically reduce what they charge poor countries for the commodity.
The poorest countries should only pay about $20 (£9.60) for a barrel of oil compared with current market prices of more than $90, Mr Chavez said.
Opec members should set aside $100bn from oil revenues to improve education and health in poor nations, he added.
Mr Chavez said he was seeking debate on what he said was “an explosive issue”.
Explosive? Sheeee-yeah. Everywhere I look lately, I see wingnuts mumbling and grumbling about how Chavecito’s grand schemes would collapse if oil ever went down to $7 a barrel. Some of them are actively wishing that Venezuela had stayed a Spanish colony, or that Spain would crack down and take the country back.
Well, wingnuts, keep dreaming, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen. Peak Oil is past, and so is the point of no return. At this rate, the price of oil will never again hit those halcyon lows, and it’s a good thing too. Since Venezuelan heavy crude needs higher prices to offset the costs of refining it, that means more bucks for the poor down there.
And for those ecologically-minded, being forced to rethink your fossil-fuel-burning habits is also a Good Thing. If it takes higher oil prices for the affluent gringos to learn economy, fine. So be it. Hybrids, electric cars, fuel cells, public transit, bikes–bring ’em. As long as people don’t buy any more of those goddamn butt-ugly Hummers.
Now, as for Chavecito’s proposal: I think it’s got legs. The rich country’s $100 barrel will more than subsidize the poor one’s $20 barrel. Wealth redistribution is no longer a subject of debate as far as I’m concerned; it’s a MUST. And this is as good a way as any to do it.
Of course, that being said, I predict a great many rich countries will suddenly declare bankruptcy. Ojo pelao, Chavecito!