Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Despite oil accounting for a whopping 90% of Venezuela’s export earnings, President Maduro, a fervent supporter of the Paris Agreement, has courageously put principle before profits by implementing his version of a new green deal. Maduro has eliminated the capitalist exploiters from his nation’s oil industry, and replaced them with loyal army officers who are rapidly dismantling the infrastructure left behind by the capitalists.
Soldiers are taking over Venezuela’s oil industry, and the country with the world’s biggest oil reserves is falling further behind
Reuters Dec. 26, 2018, 5:55 PM
CARACAS (Reuters) – Last July 6, Major General Manuel Quevedo joined his wife, a Catholic priest and a gathering of oil workers in prayer in a conference room at the headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA.
The career military officer, who for the past year has been boss at the troubled state-owned oil company, was at no ordinary mass. The gathering, rather, was a ceremony at which he and other senior oil ministry officials asked God to boost oil output.
“This place of peace and spirituality,” read a release by the Oil Ministry that was later scrubbed from its web site, “was the site of prayer by workers for the recovery of production of the industry.”
President Nicolas Maduro turned heads in November 2017 whenhe named a National Guard general with no oil experience to lead PDVSA.
Quevedo’s actions since have raised even more doubts that he and the other military brass now running the company have a viable plan to rescue it from crushing debt, an exodus of workers and withering production now at its lowest in almost seven decades.
Workers who make mistakes operating increasingly dilapidated PDVSA equipment now face the risk of arrest and charges of sabotage or corruption. Military chieftains, moonlighting in the private sector, are elbowing past other contractors for lucrative service and supply business with PDVSA.
Maduro defends the military managers, arguing they are more in synch with his Socialist worldview than capitalist industry professionals who exploit the country for personal profit.
“I want a Socialist PDVSA,” the president told allied legislators earlier this year. “An ethical, sovereign and productive PDVSA. We must break this model of the rentier oil company.”
The sheer genius of President Maduro’s green plan will no doubt be appreciated by future generations of Venezuelans.
Unlike President Macron, whose politically clumsy attempt to ween his nation off oil led to the yellow vest riots and a humiliating backdown, President Maduro has successfully maintained the fiction of attempting to revive his nation’s oil industry, while secretly mounting an unprecedented effort to deindustrialise and dismantle the entire Venezuelan petro-economy.
President Maduro’s loyal army officers are on track to eliminate Venezuelan fossil fuel exports, shut down industry and are also busy quietly liberating the people from the trappings of capitalist materialism, fostering a return to a simpler age when the Venezuelan people lived more in harmony with nature.