Friday, December 30, 2005

Shouldn't accusations be supported by facts? 

One would certainly think that. But apparently not the people in the Venezuelan opposition. Today a prominent member of the Venezuelan opposition, Jose Toro Hardy, claimed that somehow the information being supplied by the Venezuelan government regarding oil production are inaccurate. Specifically, he says that information being provided by the Venezuelan Central bank contradicts information given by the state oil company PDVSA. Here is what he said:

It is difficult to understand what is happening with our oil, from the point of view of production, because the figures that PDVSA gives do not match the figures given by the Central Bank of Venezuela. The government speaks of production around 3.3 million barrels per day but it seems that the Central Bank talks about production on the order of 2.5 million barrels

That certainly does sound like a huge discrepancy and a serious matter. So lets dig into the numbers and see if in fact there is a desrepcancy. Oh wait, we can't. You see the esteemed Mr. Toro Hardy didn't provide any numbers. In fact not only did he not give any details on what numbers seemed to contradict what other numbers he didn't even give any documents or publications that he was referring. He only tells us that SOMETHING that PDVSA said SOMEHOW contradicts SOMETHING that the BCV said. Maybe he feels it is less likely that he will be rebutted if he just doesn't tell anyone what he is talking about in the first place.

Also, I'm not sure how he can say that it is "difficult to understand" what is happening with PDVSA. After all PDVSA just published extremely detailed and audited financial statements which gave voluminous quantities of information on how much oil Venezuela is producing. That stands in stark contrast to when Toro Hardy was leading PDVSA and they didn't release production figures at all. Whats more, those audited financial statements confirmed that the Venezuelan government had been telling the truth about production being over 3 million barrels per day. But these opposition types are apparently not easily detered by facts, even by audited facts.

And just to finish up his little rant he says:

"the income of the government has increased, thanks to the income from petroleum and it has increased in an important way, by 50% or more than 50%, simply because the price of oil has increased without the effort of anyone"

The price of oil increased without the effort of anyone? I don't know about that. I think the record clearly shows that the price of oil increased from about $10 to over $50 in significant part because Hugo Chavez and Ali Rodriguez got OPEC to cut back on production and cajoled the Russians and Norwegains to do the same. And if that is such an "effortless" thing then why didn't Toro Hardy do it when he was running things instead of virtually giving the oil away for free?

I have to say when I read these little articles I am reminded not simply of how pathetic the opposition media is but also of how mediocre the previous management of Venezuela's oil industry was. Thank god that all changed for good in 2003.

This is a very understated plack on the PDVSA headquarters in Caracas to the heroes who defended PDVSA from the oil sabatoje of 2002/2003. Many people actually slept in the PDVSA headquarters during the oil strike to prevent the old management from seizing the building. Considering the enormous benefits that have accrued to the people of Venezuela since the company was wrested from the old corrupt management they really do need to creat a bigger monument. The plack reads:

PDVSA to the soviergn people, that in permanent vigalence in this place gave an inconditional defense of the oil industry that is the patrimony of all Venezuelans.
March 2003
La Campina, Caracas


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