*El Caballito to Jorge:I gottafinga for you, pal(*Castro,"El Caballo" )

Venezuelan Judge Orders Trial for Chávez Foe Helped by U.S.http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/08/international/americas/08venez.html

Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has been purging his national oil industry of political opponents, not least because this has been the central organizing venue for the US campaign to oust him, which culminated in a failed coup.

Chavez, having consolidated power in a smashing referendum victory, now moves to tidy up after the US backed coup foundered.

The article cited mentions trials of the first four of what will no doubt be scores of conspirator (sorry, alleged conspirators…)

The question I wish to raise for debate…

If YOU were advising Chavez.

If you were putting your cosiderable geopolitical and analytical skills at his disposal for the advancement of his interests and how he perceives the interests of the Venezualan people,

If you were, say, Ali Rodriguez, Oil Minister and from time to time rotatng chair of the opec market (pricing) committee.

How would you advise him best to use the geopolitical leverage implicit in Venezuela’s oil reserves to counter the increasing Yanqui hostility ?


This morning Chavez (or El Cabillito as I like to call him affectionately…) phoned you and said that Columbian paramilitaries had crossed over the border several times in the previous week, and he was concerned that they were trying to provoke an incident to be a latter day “tonkin gulf” .

As oil minister you have been talking with CNOOC about a dedicated supply contract. That’s where they take all you can pump, and you pump all they can take…

Chavez wants your answer on this question:

Should I try and cut a deal with the US? I can’t win a war against a Columbian proxy, if they are willing to go that far, and they sure are…

But if I cut a deal, I know they won’t keep it unless I get Jorge’s left ball for collateral.

How can I best line up diplomatic and economic partners with enough combined clout to keep Jorge from going up my ass the way he did Saddam, and his daddy did poor old Noriega.

What did those Chinese guys say to you about our deal? What good does it do them to make a deal with me if they let Jorge turn me into an adult movie star at Gitmo.

You gotta work out a thing for us, that if Jorge starts horsing around like he loves to do, they gotta get on the phone and sell the shit outta that country. No, better yet, do this. Cause he’s too stupid to let him dance his ass too far out a a limb you know, cause when he fall’s off he could knock my head on the way down.

We don’t make a deal with the Chinese unless they say OUT FRONT and OUT LOUD, that they gonna sell the shit outta the US if they fuck with me. That way we’ll back his chickenshit ass down like North Korea did, you know. This little pendajo, you gotta let him know who’s boss. He talks big, but he’s gonna get the “oye como va” from me.

He’s gonna jump like a rattler bit the tire on that sissy bike, what’s wrong with him he cant ride a horse like a man?

How will you advise your president?
MY advice, for what it is worth, would be for Chavez to calll a summit of the South American states in opposition to Americsa (Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina(?) Ecuador, together with Indonesia, China (as consumer) France and Germany(as consumers and just for spite), Cuba, (because that beautiful man has been waiting so long for this,) because no one knows the Yanqui like El Caballo, probably Jamaica, (because they are the baddest muthafuckers in the carribean on account of the slave ships put in there first and dumped the surviving worst actors before sailing on with the rest of the “cargo”) and, really, anyone else who wants to buy or sell oil at a fair price, and be able to continue to do so, in peace, without contracting to Halliburton.

At the summit conference , they would discuss mutual security, orderly supply of crude, and cutting loose from the dollar for oil pricing.It would be an “Oil Union”, ie an economic union, of producers and consumers who fear America and who want to put the american military in as tight a box as they can, because that’s the military that will be coming soon to “liberate” a town near you

This would be sort of a “coalition of the unwilling”

If you would give different advice, why? Remember, you are advising Chavez on HIS interests, of which #1 is staying President, cause as an ex president he’s gonna be a dead president.

How would it be in his OR Venezuela’s interest to have any further commercial relations with the US than absolutely necessary?

Could Jorge be rehabilitated? How? If not rehabilitated, could he at least be deterred enough from reneging on a deal so as to make Chavez secure?

Clearly, if Chavez is convinced Bush or his succesors in interest will stab him in the back, he might as well “throw down” big time–that is to say, go for broke in attempting to surround himself with allies, particularly amongst oil producers.

I think China is the wild card. The “indispensible party”, because it has the interest and the means to curtail America’s Freedom of Adventure, so to speak and Venezuela has the oil that China needs.

Oh, by the way. This next part is not hypothetical…
CNOOC has an offer pending to acquire Unocal. And they probably will be buying more US oil companies as time goes on. Gotta do something with those dollars.


El Caballo-The Horse, (casto’s nickname)

El Caballito The Little Horse (maybe it is Chavez’ nickname now)

Pendajo-dick(head) Not the head of the dick, as in putz, but dickhead, as in, that Jorge is some dickhead…

the “oye como va”

literally, see how it goes. It means a wake up call, the 411, a bitch slap upside that grinning cracker face.

Alaric, I can see the glimmerings of a debate in your first post.

However, as you have done in several other instances, recently, you have clouded the issue with your own extremely involved scenario (which will lose some readers and will give others infinite areas to nitpick the OP to death without ever addressing your point) and you have cluttered it with a lot of slang and idiolect that simply makes it difficult to read.

I’m going to give you a short while to return and post a clear point for debate (e.g., “Should Chavez ever make any deal with the U.S.?” or “Who should Chavez seek for allies against my perceived future U.S. invasion?” or something along those lines). If I return and find no change or find something more confusing, I will close this thread.

The topic is interesting and debatable, but when the OP will generate more discussion about its incoherence than its subject, it does not belong in GD.

[ /Moderator Mode ]

Actually, you have distilled what I believe to be Chavez’ dilemma. He is increasingly under pressure not to stray from the american orbit–Venezuealan oil in the past has gone almost entirely to the US (for obvious geographical reasons)

In order to vindicate his ambitious populist programs, he needs to usufruct to his regime more of the oil revenue, and also to solidifiy control of the oil industry.

I wished to highlight the dilemma facing him, or any other natural resource extracting country, wishing to direct the economic policy of his country away from alignment with American interests.

He is under increasing threat of “regime change” via further coup attempts.

He could face an outright invasion from Colombia.

He will not (nor should he) trust american protestations of noninterferenc.

There is, for him, no military solution that I can see.

This means if he is to continue moving Venezuela to the left, he has to find some diplomatic/economic cover.

I believe that our recent behaviours on the world stage enhance the probability that other state in Latin America face a similar dilemma, making them likely allies in this economic union.

I have suggested using the oil reserves as a means of mobilizing the economic power central banks in the “consuming countries” of the envisioned “oil union” as a counterweight to the US military option; That is to say, in return for enhanced access to natural resources, the hypothetical united parties (whoever they might ultimately sort out to be) would agree to publicly declare their intention to slam dollar denominated assets in the event of a US military adventure vs. one of their members.

I recognise that such an action might have short term (even long term) adverse effects on their total net worth. Presumably the security enhancement that they would perceive from such a united and empowered front would be considered worth the price.

If such an economic union were formed against us, could we counter it ?

If military action were off the table, do we have the economic resilience to readjust our foreign account balance and our internal deficit structure so as to insulate our economy from such a threat?

If not, is our foreign policy taking into adequate account the limitations that such an outcome ought to impose on it (ie, are we thowing gasoline on a potential fire when we throw our weight around indiscriminately?)

Still not totally following you, but I assume you know that Venezuela is already part of such a union, CAN, aka the Andean Pact:

Here’s their English webpage. Pretty dry stuff. Here’s the US Page, which is pretty out of date; Venezuela didn’t get included in the latest treaty.

So are you asking whether the CAN should become more powerful?


I am envisioning an entirely new organization, specifically and publicly declared as a check on US military adventures. While some of the CAN states might be likely adherents I would not look for Peru or Chile.

Per contra, I would expect Brazil to be a player.

Most importantly, I am referencing a alliance between natural resource extractors and their customers in europe and Asia. This would be an alliance not founded upon geographic proximity but upon generalized fear of the US

OK, but I really doubt that any country would publicly declare that they are forming or joining anything using the word ‘fear’.

And I also doubt that any country in Europe or Asia, even France, would want to deliberately and officially get the largest economy in the world mad at them.

Political administrations come and go–Bush, Chavez, Chirac, Blair–someday they’ll all be off writing their memoirs. Hell, for Bush we even know the exact date. An organization started for propaganda purposes or out of spite or fear will be the Patrice Lumumba University of its time, an embarrassing relic of political passions that nobody will quite understand in a few short years.

No, I don’t think they will call themselves “United Fraidy Catt ths against America”
but I believe there is plenty of fear of america out there to mobilize.

As far as the transience of Bushism, from your mouth to god’s ear.

Presumably the elements in the Republican party who pushed Bush to the fore in order to advance the neocon agenda will have another candidate when Bush is done.

btw. this would not be an “organization for propaganda purposes” as I see it.

It would be meant as an explicit check to militarism. I can see a Shroeder government signing on to some sort of deal if it also involved knocking a euor or two of the barrel price of oil for member consumers.

It would be hard to see how Chavez would be the poster boy for such a position given that he’s ordering quite a few Russian munitions and small arms and starting “citizen militias” to defend la patria should it come under attack. Nevermind that any serious military attack on Venezuela would be next to impossible right now for over-stretched US forces.

The US only invades relatively small Caribbean and South American countries like Grenada and Panama, not ones that could prove problematic occupying like Venezuela. Besides, Venezuela, with its oil resources, could only ever be an economic threat and not a military one. The US didn’t go to war with any of OPEC during the Arab oil embargo of the late '70s and isn’t likely to do so should Venezuela decide to spurn one of its most important trading partners.

The real reason Chavez is beating the drum about a possible US invasion is because he is trying to rally the ordinary people to him (a la the 5 minute hate in “1984”) and gradually put in place his own kind of revolutionary guard to prevent any future coup attempts against him in order to solidify his power base.

I think you correct. I probably should have said military “adventurism”, a la pumping up some local dissidents and maybe seizing a port facility or platform or two.

As I recall, inthe failed coup, Chavez was held at an air force unit that was cia penetrated.



Carry on.

Ay, dios mio. Soy un perdedor.


Could one not envision a legal framework modelled upon the sort of restraining orders that issue to keep on neighbor from threatening and harassing another?

(De Villepain would love this because it traps Bush on the horns of a jurisdictional dillema)

A clause in the contract of sale between Venezuala’s state oil company and, for example, France. The clause follows:

Should Venezuela experience interference in its internal affairs which gives rise to an apprehension that a foreign power seeks to destabilize the present regime, it shall have the option of filing with the World Court a petiton for an international restraining order.

Upon a finding of fact by the court that Venezuela’s allegations are correct, the court will issue an order setting forth in detail the behaviours complained of, and setting forth a remedy as follows:

Trading partner (eg, France) shall deposit with a trustee, title to the (eg, US )overnment instruments of debt that it holds in its central bank.

The trustee, upon a showing by Venezuela that the restrained behaviour cotinues, shall go into the market place and liquidate the said holdings."

This system would have several interesting ramifications.

First, since the market operates to discount future changes in value, by stretching the process out over time there would be market feedback evaluating the truth of the charges, the likelihood that Venezuela would prevail, etc.

This would give those within the offending adminstration who urge restraint more to work with.

For example, If Saddam could have gone to the world court in 2002 seeking an order restraining Bush from invading, or otherwise harassing him, and he were seeking, say, divestiture from France of US instruments, the market could immediately know what portion of the outstanding US debt was involved and would make an estimation of the probability that Saddam would prevail in court, and that the US would persist in the bad behaviour, resulting in a predictable hit of such and such amount in treasury instruments in say, twenty months.

Assuming, arguendo, in the Saddam example, that upon his filing ten year treasuries dropped 150 basis points, Colin Powell would have something to beat Rumsfield over the head with.

After all, what is desired in the long run is to deter bad actors BEFORE they invade other countries and cause world wide ruin and appear in public in flight suits…

Another feature of this progam is that it seizes jurisdiction without the necesary consent of the restrained party.

For instance, in a civil restraining order proceeding between neighbors where one complains that the other is threatening her, and letting her pit bull run loose and letting her kids piss out the window onto her rose bushes, the pit bull owner can show up in court or not, as she pleases.

You can show up in courgt and argue that you did not do it, or if you did it you didn’t mean it the way it’s described, etc, but if you don’t show up, that’s fine. The order issues, and moves the ball a long way downfield towards your being arrested ify ou keep on acting out.

Because it’s a two step process, that looks prospectively to keep the peace, there is feedback to the restrainee that says, chill out or you will have consequences.

In the international example, it could have similar impact, and there would be no jurisdictional objection available to the bad actor, becase all of the consequences occur in the market place, without any action needed within the restrained country itself.

On the other hand, if you show up to defend your actions, there is that implicit grant of jurisdiction of authority to the court over the area of international relations at issue.

Also, because the sanction only operates prospectively, if the court finds for the petitioner there is still an opportunity for the bad actor to reform, and it’s “no harm no foul.”

Per contra, if the restraining order is violated and the market place sees it happening, there will be early warning pain inflicted upon the treasury instruments at issue, ratcheting up the incentive for Bush to stand down (I mean, if it were Bush, and all…)

This is all within the private power of the contracting parties;

As they say in 1st yr Law School: “The contract is the law of the case.”

You get to write your own law, and in this system, you get to writethe law for the neighbors as well.

Of course, I would be remiss were I to fail to mention that the trustee in such a sale would, of course, be former Sec. Treas Robert Reich.

Thus, if obliged to enforce the contractually stipulated penalty, President Chavez would be able to call a news conference, at which time he would say to the reporters:

                                "Say hello to my little fren'"

Of course, the problem with you little scenario is that it would require France to agree to sieze American assets on the say-so of Venezuela. There is no chance that France would make such an agreement, since it would lead to a world-wide economic disaster, even if France were willing to make such an agreement purely out of spite.

Sure, if every country in the world got together to form an anti-American alliance, and agreed to cut all trade with America, and to defend each other against all American aggression then America would have to be more careful about which countries we invaded. However, France and Germany certainly aren’t going to ruin their own countries economies by starting a trade war with the US no matter how much Chavez might wish them to. France and Germany and China don’t give two shits about which tinpot dictator rules Venezuela, and why should they? They want the oil to flow just like the US, they have no desire to prop up Chavez simply because he’s anti-American.

So the OP basically boils down to, “Boy, wouldn’t it be great if Chavez could get France, Germany and China to join an Anti-American union?” From Chavez’s point of view, sure. What exactly do France, Germany and China stand to gain? All of them have about 100 times more interest in their relations with the US than they do with their relations with Venezuela.


Well, France in particular would get to bust W’s balls, which I submit to you is a reward with some motivational power in certain Elysee circles.

You may recall that the present Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepain, was the ambassador to the UN during the run up to the anti Iraq aggresion.

You may also recall W thumping his chest about a showdown vote in the security council, where all would lay down their cards.

That vote, the successful outcome of which was indispensable if the Iraqi advanture were to be anything but an act of pure aggression, hence, a war crime
see Downing Street I and II for the details of why the seciurity council vote was crucial.

It appears that electronic intercepts revealed that M. de Villepain intended to vote “non”.

That being “game over”, W pulled the plug on the second resolution.

It was one of those espionage moments where you

“burn your cover” ; that is to say, de Villepain knew his phone had been bugged.

That said, let me deconstruct a bit more in detail how this would work, and why it would be to the advatage both of the oil producers and the oil consumers.

You note quick correctly that the rubber meets the road when the contracting buyer is called upon to perform under the “restraining order” clause in the contract.

Obviously, if the buyer wishes to divest US securities, there is no problem, and no need to provide for reference of the issues raised to any sort of tribunal.

Thus, for instance, with or without a contractual obligation, and with or without findings by international tribunals, any country can announce and institute divestiture as -part of an arsenal of economic sancitions.

Indeed, divestiture is a fairly mild form of economic sanction.

So, as you say, the point of having a process available to adjudicate facts in dispute is to provide the BUYER with a forum where the bona fides of Venezuela’s complaint can be tested. This is really in isomorph of the WTO courts, where one nation wishes to change the status vis-a-vis some trade practice; There may be dumping allegations, or trade secret issues, what have you. Some forum must decide the facts assuming both parties don’t agree on what the facts are.

What makes the international restraining order different is that even tho the Buyer may have an interest in avoidiing the operation of the divestiture clause (as it would in our scenario represent a fiscal negative, otherwise why would these central banks be holding dollrs in the first place?

That being the case, they are free as well to speak on behalf of the “bully” l
Let’s suppose for arguments sake that would be Bush.

The problem that the Buyer will have if the Bully does not show up, is that the Buyer will not have access to exculpatory material, to alternative frameworks within which an act ostensibly hostile may be seen as an error, who knows? It is clear that if the civil restraining order process were the model, a defaulting respondant is likely to be hit with a permanent order.

What, you say, is in it for the Buyer.?

Nothing but Tsooris. That’s why the initiative to negotiate this provision would come from Venezuela. (or whatever other seller were talking of.

I have to confess that a free standing oil union is rather too grandiose.

I should officially trim back my proposal to simple bilateral contracts for the sale of oil, in whcih contract Venezueal is going to try and bargain successfully for this clause.

I think it would, however, have interesting wider ramifications if need arose.

One could see an ad hoc grouping of nations who are just fed up with Neocon adenturism, especially when they are now being asked to help pick up the pieces.

The power of a prospective order, which is pending butself enforcing, where the order dovetails with market processes for discounting future risk, is greater than the financial stakes themselves, because it mobilizes analysis and opinioin and forces transparency uponthe goverment even if it does 't want transparency

sorry, I also forgot to mention that no one is “seizing” any us assets

I’m talking obout divesting portfolio not accumulating someone elses stuff.

divestiture, as we sought successfully with South Africa, just means you sell what you have.

I have to say in passing that this is one tough room.
I meah, Ok, you didn’t think Noam chmosky getting shacked out on hash browies and siging hava nagil set to the internationale was a thigh slapper,

but, come on.

":say hello to my little fren/

I’ll bet it cracks BubReich up.