Global Politics

Venezuela's poor lose out on oil wealth

This woman pulls into a state-run gas station in Caracas and fills up. It cost her about a dollar to fill up, and she says gas here is cheaper than water, and Chavez has said he has no plans to raise gas prices. The state sells gas at a loss domestically because it would be political suicide to do otherwise. Polls suggest Chavez's socialist government may not do well at the upcoming elections, and Chavez's supporters are concerned about a 30% inflation rate and food shortages. Many wonder how the economy can be struggling despite the rising international gas prices and Venezuela's excess of oil. This energy analyst says under Chavez has tripled its spending on the poor but he argues those programs amount to hand outs designed to give people the illusion that Chavez is fixing their problems. This staunchly anti-Chavez analyst agrees and says Chavez isn't trying to promote broad based reform. Some argue Chavez has even failed to develop the state-owned oil company and Venezuela's cash cow. Chavez has fired thousands of employees who were deemed counter-revolutionary and replaced them with many who have no experience in the industry, making the company inefficient. Critics allege Chavez has drawn money from the company's coffers to fund pet projects on a whim, but this analyst says past presidents have done the same as Chavez. Chavez tells his supporters he's a true revolutionary, building socialism in Venezuela. Analysts say Chavez will continue to stay afloat economically as long as oil prices stay high.

Player utilities

Comments