Archive for December 28th, 2002

Tyromaniac on the New York Times article

December 28, 2002

From the Tyromaniac:

Trickle of Oil Starts Flowing in Venezuela. PUERTO LA CRUZ, Venezuela, Dec. 28 Nearly a month into Venezuela’s devastating national strike, all systems were back up and running close to normal this week at the refinery here that supplies gasoline to the eastern half of this country. Night shift workers were bursting with the pride of war heroes. By Ginger Thompson. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

I can’t confirm whether this is true or not, but I can say this: There is a General Strike in this country not just an oil strike. The government may manage to produce gasoline to fill the countries needs (though it hasn’t so far) and maybe export some, but the rest of the strike continues unabated. There is no beer in the supermarkets! Because no beer is being produced, while there are contingency plans to produce basic food (and once there is gasoline, fruits and vegetables should be plentiful), there will be no industrial production until the government negotiates. Or is a government that hasn’t been able to do the easy stuff the government has to do going to be able to do everything? I think the government is denying reality, but it is clear one side is doing just that… The truth will triumph in the end…

My commennt: I agree, the press abroad keeps talking about the oil strike, but it is a General Strike, manufacturing, commerce and food outlets are all closed. My sources indicate that the refinery the NYT’s article describes is functioning at 15-20% capacity since the beginning of the strike and less than 30% of non-executive workers are going to work. We are talking 10-15% of the country’s daily gasoline consumption. The Government  also said today oil production is at 1.5 million barrels, my sources say less than 200 thousand, gas distribution in Maracaibo is “normal” my sources say it is non-existent and the Vice-President says things are “excessively normal”, which he may be the only one that believes it. Gasoline supplies are once again, announced to be normal in 48 hours. The Attorney General finally said something about the Supreme Court decision on the oil industry and contradicted the Government saying the decision does not order people to go back to work. This is what the opposition has said from day one. For those that feel human rights are not violated in Venezuela, the Government used that decision to jail 90 crewmembers of tankers without a prosecutor being present and denying the right to due process. This violates their Human Rights and the LAW. (By the way, the LAW also says the Government or PDVSA can’t buy gasoline from Brazil at Bs. 850 per liter and sell it for Bs. 90)

Picture of last night’s pot banging demonstration at Brazilian Embassy (Sent by. Luis U.)

December 28, 2002