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Monday, May 16, 2005
  The Venezuelan Angle
The American Thinker: "Venezuela used to produce 3.1 million barrels of oil a day. Today, it's producing about 2.1 million barrels a day, according to a union leader. More appalling still, half of what is produced is done by companies like Chevron and their joint ventures.

That could mean Venezuela's inefficient state oil company producing as little as 600,000 barrels a day. If that is the case, the damage done by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to his country's oil industry - the very industry he counts on to fund his soup-kitchen programs as his insulting substitute for economic opportunity - must be greater than anyone thought. It explains why he's been shaking down foreign oil companies for greater shares of their profits. It also suggests he may not be long for remaining in power, given that his governing power and 'legitimacy' rest solely on the strength of his oil profits to dole out political favors. He's losing that capacity fast."
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