US feared that Venezuela's state oil company could become the main carrier of social policies under Chavez
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A cable back in June 2004 that appears to be originated from the US Embassy in Caracas, express the deep concerns of the US officials about the strong potentiality of the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company (PDVSA) to be established as the main carrier of progress toward social policies under Chavez.
Concerns are also evident about the fact that Chavez could escape from the tight scrutiny of the National Assembly, and therefore, of the US-backed opposition, or even from the direct US scrutiny through US financial sector regulations, in order to use PDVSA for the implementation of social policies.
Indeed, as described in the summary, “Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is now the primary agent for implementation of Chavez Administration social programs.” and “When money is channeled directly through PDVSA, however, the Chavez Administration is bypassing the accounting and budgetary control that should rest with the National Assembly. A PDVSA debt buy-back program announced on June 28 may also help PDVSA to evade the transparency required by U.S. financial sector regulations in the future.”
- Recent developments have underscored that PDVSA is not simply "connected to the national development program" as Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez_ has put it, but is now the primary agent for implementation of Chavez Administration social programs. This trend began in 2003 when PDVSA affiliate CVP started funding a program to build affordable housing called "Oil for the People."
- Starting in 2003, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has also been designated either as the Ministry in charge or as a participant in a number of Chavez,s pet social plans. These include "Mision Ribas," the literacy plan; "Mision Barrio Adentro" (Inside the Neighborhood), the plan under which Cuban doctors provide medical services to the poor; "Mision Sucre," a plan to provide grants for higher education; and "Mision Vuelvan Caras" (About Face), a plan to provide job training to the poor. The funding for these efforts has come out of PDVSA. PDVSA has also made contributions in kind to President Chavez's programs. A number of Caracas properties formerly occupied by PDVSA have been turned over for the use of the recently formed Bolivarian University of Venezuela.
- In early 2004, PDVSA Gas also announced a new project, "Gas Adentro," (Gas Inside, i.e., the neighborhood ) a clear reference to the "Barrio Adentro" medical program) to provide bottled gas to poor sectors of Caracas and other major cities. According to a local consultant, the proposed funding for "Gas Adentro" is about 15 percent of PDVSA Gas' 2004 budget and the project appears to be a virtual give away of the gas.
- With increasing resources given over to social development planning, PDVSA's management, already shorthanded, is being deflected away from managing Venezuela's oil industry to becoming a one-stop solve-all social welfare program funder/executor, a task for which none of the current managers has the training let alone the experience.
In other words, the US didn't want to see PDVSA to play a central role in social policies. This is a reality that could strengthen the support of most of Venezuelans on state-owned regime concerning the oil industry. Immediately, the US big corporations would had been left behind in the race for the Venezuelan rich oil reserves.
It's a great irony and hypocrisy the fact that the Western propaganda apparatus accuses the Government of Venezuela since Chavez era for something that even the most rich-oil developed countries would do de facto. Norway for instance.