Editorial Comment

Iraq aside, Venezuela’s oil crisis could really hurt. While everybody’s mind is on Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and their potential effect on world oil supplies, a more serious crisis is brewing. An indefinite-duration, general national strike protesting the Hugo Chavez regime was launched in Venezuela last month. This is the latest in a series of one-day general national strikes in a continuous state of protest that marred the entire year. Critical to the outcome of the current protest is whether oil workers of state oil company PDVSA will support the next general strike, according to Michael Economides of the University of Houston and Liugi Saputelli PDVSA engineer. After all, oil accounts for 80% of the nation’s exports, 50% of government revenues and at least 25% of the entire national economy. The PDVSA workers went out in a huge way, paralyzing the nation’s oil activities with enormous future implications. It’s too early to predict how this will affect Venezuela, and the impact on the rest of the world, particularly the U.S., is still unfolding.

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