October 09, 2012

When the oil curse is just too potent

Sir, Edward Luce in “The ghoul of half truths is not America’s real problem”, October 7, referred to a scholar opining that “[Poland’s electorate is divided between people who feel morally superior and people who fell intellectually superior”. 

But, making reference to your “Chávez challenge”, and John Paul Rathbone´s and Benedict Mander’s “Chávez hails election results as a perfectvictory” October 9, in the case of Venezuela, that division is better described as being between people who feel morally and intellectually superior, and those who do not care one iota about that, since they are too busy keeping their eyes fixed on the checkbook in the hands of the chief of turn which contains the oil revenues, and, quite often, they do so, only out of sheer imperative necessity. 

To understand what is happening in Venezuela just try to think about what would happen in your own country if 98 percent of all the nations export revenues were received by a centralized government. There is no Constitution anywhere that can provide for the sufficiently powerful societal checks and balance to handle something like that. 

And if you really want to get upset, just think about the missed opportunity to install in Iraq an oil revenue sharing with the Iraq citizens. Not only would that have set an example for the rest of oil cursed nations, but it could also help to avoid that a future neo Saddam Hussein could be receiving 3 times or more oil revenues as Saddam Hussein ever received.