Hugo Chavez and Venezuela's Oil
'And that is the irony: Washington's never-ending battle against Venezuela has, in some ways, made the Chavez government and its political party stronger, by helping to infuse the left v right political contest there with an anti-imperialist dimension that would put most of the world's governments on the side of Chavez.
'Of course, the most important source of [Hugo] Chavez's continued electoral success has been the improvements in living standards that the majority of Venezuelans have experienced over the past decade: poverty reduced by half, extreme poverty by more than 70%, unemployment cut by half, a tripling of people eligible for public pensions and vastly increased access to healthcare and education.
'In the New York Times' debate, historian Miguel Tinker-Salas made the best contribution – as he often does – by emphasizing the centrality of who controls Venezuela's oil reserves:
"Control of the government implies control of the oil industry and the ability to dictate whether it benefits society at large or small, privileged sectors, as it did in the past."
'Indeed it does, and will.'