The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Venezuela: almost like the real thing
The rumour mill is flat out, of course. The opposition spin seems to be that Chávez won't be relying on hanging chads to sway the referendum result his way: according to Murdoch's (caveat maxime lector!) Sunday Times today, at least,
On Alo Presidente, a weekly televised chatshow in which he talks for hours at a time to the nation, Chavez called for his red-shirted militias, the Circulos Bolivarianos to maintain a presence around polling stations today.
The Spanish version of Poor Man's Nexis fails to produce a single item for "círculos bolivarianos" "alo presidente". On the other hand, my piece yesterday referred to the military taking charge of voting machines...
Interesting to know what has been discounted in the price of oil, spot price, futures, options and so forth: any result (a clear win or loss for Chávez, or something in the middle) is hardly likely to guarantee stability.
Basic information on Venezuelan oil: World Oil Magazine numbers have the country producing 2.2 million barrels per day in June 2004 (2.7% of total world production of 82.3 mbpd). (Iraq, by comparison, it puts as producing 1.7 mbpd in June).
Venezuela's strength is in its R/P ratio - reserves to production, that is: at the end of 2003, its R/P was 71.5, apparently. The US Department of Energy's EIA country brief for Venezuela is an essentially port-of-call for tyros (such as your humble blogger). According to this, Venezuela accounted for 11.3% of US oil imports in 2003.
The other issue of interest to gringos will be the performance of the voting machines (Smartmatic, not Diebold!) used in the referendum; the opposition are already saying that the (how many?) fingerprint machines (which have to be satisfied before voters are allowed to approach the voting machines) are on the fritz.
Ex Venezuela, semper aliquid novi...
On oil supply more generally, as the URL comes to hand, a piece Iraq and the Problem of Peak Oil looks at the the problem of world oil reserves, or the lack of them. Looking at crude reserves numbers is misleading, apparently; once a certain proportion of an oilfield has been extracted, the marginal cost of extraction starts to increase, until the field becomes uneconomic. An alarming proportion of fields currently in production are in this category.
That's the story, at least. The fact it comes from an organisation with globalization in its title - the Centre for Research on Globalisation - gives one pause. But there's an aura of plausibility there, I think.
On the referendum, a briefing page in English from Alia-2, some sort of Chávez spin operation, I surmise. But useful none the less . And an example of Chávez spin from Proceso of Mexico City  from key henchman
Samuel Moncada, historiador, miembro del llamado equipo de 12 dirigentes que encabeza el presidente Hugo Chávez y responsable de la campaña oficialista para el referéndum en Venezuela que se llevó a cabo este domingo 15.
(Memo to self: henchman an unduly neglected epithet in gringo politics...)
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