Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chavez campaigns overseas and gets told by another King

Chavez must be feeling very confident about the result of December 2 vote. I do not know whether his polls tell him another story from what is developing lately here, or if the CNE has already programmed the result wished for in the Smartmatic machines but in the middle of a delicate electoral campaign he travels to Chile and then to Saudi Arabia and Europe.

Or perhaps he senses that the only way to win the election the way he wants to win is to create again a radicalization of the political situation. Since he has no sparring partner in Venezuela besides the protesting students, well, kings will have to do.

Long time readers of this blog know that my thesis on Chavez victories is that whenever he is on the ballot (directly or indirectly as it is the case for the coming December 2 contest) Chavez NEEDS to have more votes than the preceding election. All polls tell us that this will not be the case this time because between abstention and NO votes Chavez might win but with not much more than half the votes he got last December. It is important to keep this in mind when one tries to understand what Chavez has been doing these last couple of weeks. Besides, the violence implied in the constitutional proposal makes it imperative for Chavez to win it big otherwise soon he will get in trouble at home and overseas as he tries to apply something which is not wanted by the people. Let's also keep in mind that it is one thing to vote for a constitution and another to vote for a president, a detail that seems to have escaped chavismo...

So, after having been told to shut up by the King of Spain, off to Saudi Arabia we see our beloved world Supremo. It was quite something to watch his speech on Venezuelan TV last night. According to Chavez, he has been the de facto ruler of the OPEC since the Caracas summit of 2000 and thanks to his enlightened vision oil went from 10 USD to 100 USD to the barrel. The man really believes that it is because of him!!! I mean he certainly contributed to the initial rise but he seems to neglect a few little details such as the stupendous growth of China and India, September 11 with its consequences and the decline of the greenback which by itself might account for as much as 10% of the actual oil prices. And yet when inflation is taken in oil is not much more expensive today than what it was in the late 70ies and early 80ies. Then again Chavez does not do well with relativity, which is probably why he thinks he is the linty belly button of the world.

I wonder what the Saudis and other assorted oil potentates must have thought about Chavez speeches wanting to make the OPEC a social political force (directed by Chavez who probably is upset he cannot be reelected head of OPEC?), switch to the Euro for oil prices, and his own self glorification. Perhaps that speech could work to stir the downfallen passions of the lumpen chavismo too busy looking for milk to go to election rallies, but in Riyadh it did not work.

In fact King Abdullah rebuke was much softer and nicer than the one from the King of Spain but it was as effective and direct to expose the naked ambitions of Chavez who is so unhinged that he treats all as if they were his subjects. The Saudis have seen pass much worse characters through the Middle East than Chavez and he certainly will not brow beat them. From the CBS/AP report (you should really read it completely to see how out of touch is Chavez with OPEC reality) we get these words from King Abdullah:

After Chavez's speech, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, the conservative head of the world's largest oil exporter, appeared to rebuke the leftist president by insisting "OPEC has always acted moderately and wisely."
"Oil is an energy for development, it should not become a tool for conflict and emotions," said Abdullah.

The king also sought to head off Chavez's attempt to reshape OPEC in his socialist image, saying the organization "has not overlooked its responsibilities to developing countries and poverty alleviation." He highlighted that the OPEC Fund for International Development has made donations to over 120 developing countries.
Elsewhere in the press reports are not any more flattering of Chavez role at the OPEC. From the Guardian we get the rather acrimonious debate of Chavez and Ahmadinejerk emissaries against the rest of OPEC when someone plug a TV camera where it should not have been plugged. The Wall Street Journal event titles directly: "Chavez's OPEC Speech Spurs Rebuke From Saudi King".

Enough said.

-The end-

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