Sunday, October 30, 2005

Venezuela Sensing Possible U.S. Invasion

Venezuela Sensing Possible U.S. Invasion
President Hugo Chavez says America is eyeing his nation's rich oil fields, says Bhuwan Thapaliya
Email Article  Print Article Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)    
Forecasts of a conflict between the United States and Venezuela may be far-fetched, but also should not be totally dismissed. Last week Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the United States of "threatening all life on the planet" in his speech at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Are the predictions erroneous? In the interim, relations between the United States and Venezuela seemed likely to be further strained after Chavez, a vocal critic of the Bush administration, said in an interview with BBC radio on Oct. 20 that his government is preparing for a possible U.S. invasion in the near future.

The remarks appeared likely to raise blood pressure in Washington, which has put oil at the heart of its policies.

Not for the first time, Chavez confounded the international arena and observers by sending strong warning signals to Washington by stating that the United State's aggression towards Venezuela would soar like the already high gasoline prices in the United States.

Chavez said he believed the reason Washington was plotting an invasion was to take control of Venezuela's rich oil fields. "That's why Pat Robertson, the spiritual adviser of Mr. Bush, is calling for my assassination. That would be much cheaper than an invasion," Chavez said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government repeated that it is not planning any such attacks, according to the latest media reports. The State Department's spokesman Sean McCormack said Chavez's suspicions were unfounded.

Chavez further boasted that, "Everyday, we send 1.5 million barrels to the United States, and if the United States attacks Venezuela, then the barrel price of crude oil could hit $150 following a U.S. attack." Currently light sweet crude oil trades around $60 a barrel.

"Venezuela has eight oil refineries and 14,000 gasoline stations in the United States and it will be very difficult for the United States to attack Venezuela," Chavez said with rocket-high assurance.

Who is in the wrong? America or Venezuela. Attacking foreign nations in pursuit of oil is no way to run a government. This is indefensible. Likewise, vocally attacking other nations for playing the oil politics without legitimate confirmation is no way to defend a government. This too is indefensible.

This puts both the Bush and Chavez administrations in a dilemma, but the dilemmas and risks need to be re-evaluated.

Nevertheless, this recent bout of shadow boxing between the United States and Venezuela is not commendable at this hour of the crisis, when the whole world is punctured by terrorism, war, soaring inflation, unemployment, famine, natural disasters and other multifarious problems.

Diplomatic muscle must make the difference. There must be a compromise despite all the difficulties. Let us not forget that like bad weather, bad policies too can change. The fortunes of bilateral peace will now depend on how these two governments rise to the challenge to adjust and reform their diplomatic ties.

Indeed, it is time for one of the stone throwers to sober up, and make peace with the other stone thrower. Otherwise, the only winner will be the guest of the consequences -- war.
2005/10/21 오후 9:41
© 2005 Ohmynews


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