Washington being oily in Venezuela

I can't take it anymore! The American media has been misrepresenting events in Venezuela, slavishly adopting the account, one of pure invention, furnished by the Right in both Caracas and Washington. Too much time has passed for me to believe that the reportage error is purely a matter of ignorance, especially when the NYTimes, normally more subtle about its heavy corporate slant, follows the cant so readily.

What we read and what we hear is a lie.

This is clearly an oil strike, not a "general strike," as it is often described. At the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, which controls the industry, management is leading the strike because it is at odds with the Chavez government.

Over the past quarter-century PDVSA has swelled to a $50-billion-a-year enterprise, while the income of the average Venezuelan has declined and poverty has increased more than anywhere in Latin America. And while Venezuela depends on oil for 80 percent of its export earnings and half its national budget, the industry's workers represent a tiny fraction of the labor force.

Outside the oil industry, it is hard to find workers who are on strike. Some have been locked out from their jobs, as business owners - including big foreign corporations such as McDonald's and FedEx - have closed their doors in support of the opposition.

Read on.

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Published on January 16, 2003 7:33 PM.

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