Venezuelans find black gold and respect in Colombia

September 18, 2010

I was away for three days in Colombia, a country that seems to be going in exactly the opposite direction of Venezuela. It is simply booming, with over US$ 10 billion in foreign investment this year alone in oil and mining. This boom creates problems, the currency has appreciated quite a bit, In February of 2009 it was as high as 2,590 pesos per US$, it is now around 1,800 pesos per US$. This creates problems for exporters, so the Government has to intervene to force the currency to devalue, exactly the opposite of what happens in Venezuela. Unemployment remains stubbornly high too, near 12% levels, so everything is not rosy, but things are really looking up.

Everywhere I went, people talked abut Pacific Rubiales, the Canadian oil company, created and run by Venezuelans fired from PDVSA, who have become the darlings of the local stock exchange in that country.  The company, which has taken the Rubiales oil field from 20,000 barrels a day to 130,000 barrels a day and expects to reach 225,000 barrels a day of total oil production by the end of the year, has become the second largest oil producer in Colombia after Ecopetrol and above all of the operating oil multinationals in the country

There was actually an article in today’s El Tiempo, which I can’t find online, about the company, describing how the company took first class workers from PDVSA and raised the money to make this very successful company. Yes, these were the same people who used to run PDVSA, whose production keeps dropping. There are two or three more Venezuelan-owned and run companies in Colombia working to increase that country’s oil productions.

More than once I heard Colombians say: “We have Chavez to thank for these people being in Colombia” .

Funny thing is, all these companies and their people are all banned from working in their own country, Venezuela, as they find black gold and get lots of respect in Colombia.

8 Responses to “Venezuelans find black gold and respect in Colombia”

  1. GWEH Says:

    Dean, I live in Miami and agree… Cuban-Americans are the most successful minority in the USA. You are probably aware that we lead the nation in Medicare fraud. Big numbers. And who is responsible for this fraud? Cubans who learned to take advantage of the government from their years in Cuba. So it cuts all ways – the good, the bad and the ugly.

  2. Simon: You are right, I used a chart that showed 2,900 in February 2009…

  3. firepigette Says:

    “When populations become sufficiently mobile and can relocate easily to greener pastures, national governments will need to compete with each other for the best citizens and companies.”

    This statement completely disregards the psychological make up of society.Without a stable culture , roots, family etc. people tend to degenerate.Alcoholism, disorientation,alienation,and drugs will rise.

    We have to find a balance between spiritual/ psychological health and sound economic practices.

    Here in NC we have a huge influx of Mexicans who basically came here for money.Most of them are unhappy and plan to return to Mexico one day, and most people here in my town have a hard time adapting to them:they allow pit bulls to roam freely when the rest of us respect leash laws, they paint their houses garish colors that many find unattractive, many do not respect an orderly line at the grocery store, many of them speed like crazy on the highway, and say they hate the US because there are too many laws.

    This is not a good immigrant situation because they are coming here for money, not for values.

    Immigration should be for reasons of shared values for it to be successful

    Culture trumps finance.

    When I moved to Venezuela I adapted in a deep way to the culture but came to know many miserable Europeans and Americans who did not.They should have returned to their respective countries instead of hanging out and acting superior….way too much misery.

  4. Simon Antonio's Ghost Says:

    MO: “In February of 2009 it was as high as 2,900 pesos per US$”

    Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The TRM (Tasa Representativa del Mercado) during february 2009 ranged between 2400 pesos and 2590 pesos per US$, not 2900. However, everything else in the post is correct.

    You can find all sort of stats on the Banco de la Republica de Colombia website here:

    Click on “Serie diaria del año previo y del año actual” for a neat little graph showing the behavior of the peso since 2009. You’ll see there all the times the government has been forced to get their hands in the exchange rate to raise it.

  5. boz Says:

    This is probably your article. Portofolio and El Tiempo share articles at times.

  6. Roy Says:

    This echos one of my pet themes: That the ultimate solution to control the waste and inefficiencies of governments is competition. When populations become sufficiently mobile and can relocate easily to greener pastures, national governments will need to compete with each other for the best citizens and companies. On a smaller scale, this has already been occurring occurring in the U.S. amongst state and local governments.

  7. Dean A. Nash Says:

    And there, in a nutshell, is America’s secret – the welcoming of foreigners. Of course, not all Americans realize it.

    Castro’s castoffs didn’t only reinvent Miami, they’ve created billions in wealth, and that benefits all Americans.

    (Speaking honestly, it’s one reason that I have long encouraged Venezuelans to flee Chavez…to stop supporting him, albeit indirectly, by producing things that he can then expropriate.)

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