Adamant: Hardest metal

Iraq War gives the USA the “right” to militarily invade Venezuela?
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2003
By: Oscar Heck commentarist Oscar Heck writes: I do not want to sound alarmist … but I find the need to “get something off my chest”.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I have no interest in writing about the USA itself. I do however have interest in writing about the USA when I notice that the USA is sticking its nose into Venezuelan affairs.

So, here it goes.

I am in Canada at the moment. A few days ago, Jean Chretien, Canada’s Prime Minister, finally revealed Canada’s stance on Iraq. It was clear. Canada does not support the USA in its declaration of war on Iraq without UN approval. Chretien also mentioned that Canada will not send troops to assist the USA. (Surprise?). A poll was carried out shortly thereafter reflecting that 80% of Canadians are in agreement with Chretien.

Since this declaration, there appears to have sprouted much anti-Canadian sentiment in the USA. This morning’s news mentioned that a radio station in Florida (that has a large Canadian “winter” audience) cancelled the portion of its daily regular programming that is produced in Toronto (Canada). The radio station apparently canceled the show because it is produced by Canadians ... emphasizing that they don’t need Canadian material as part of their programming.

The news also reported that the Canadian defense systems manufacturers (who are physically located within Canada), have been asked by their USA customers, to relocate their manufacturing installations within the USA ... the reason being to minimize transportation delays at border crossings. (Yeah, sure!)

The reporter who reported this news is also a commentarist … and he had the same reaction.

Note: I have done extensive work in the USA setting up manufacturing operations in Vermont, Texas and New York. If a Canadian company sets up operations in the USA, the vast majority of its employees must, by law, be American (versus, for example, Canadians working there with a work permit). In other words, reduce the USA unemployment rate and increase Canada’s.

Is this a threat by the USA? A type of economic embargo … as they have subtly done with Canadian softwood? … with Cuba … with Iraq… now … punish anyone that does not back the USA 100%?

As I write, Rumsfeld is talking about “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and the intent of the USA being to “liberate” the Iraqi people from Saddam’s “oppressive regime”. On the other hand, I also heard on the news, that the Turkey refused a $-multi billion deal allowing the USA to use their territory for military operations … and, that the USA is still trying to negotiate with them, now adding some Iraqi petroleum operations to the offer (once the USA has taken over Iraq).

So, some of my questions are: Who gave the USA permission to steal someone else’s land?

Who gave the USA the right to “judge” the Iraqi situation enough to state that they are there to “free” the Iraqi people from oppression, from a dictator, from a non-democratic leader… and this, while killing-off a few Iraqis (collateral damage?) and while pre-negotiating with their land?

In the previous paragraph I mention: “ to “free” the Iraqi people from oppression, from a dictator, from a non-democratic leader…”

Doesn’t this sound familiar? These are exactly the same type of words that the anti-Chavez opposition has been using for months!

Isn’t it also true that Condoleezza Rice almost applauded Carmona Estanga and gang for having, in a way, “liberated” Venezuela from an oppressive anti-democratic dictator such as Chavez?

Later she had to retract a little and apparently called for Chavez to "respect constitutional processes."
No mention of Carmona and gang? As far as I have seen, the USA never condemned Carmona and gang for being dictatorial or anti-democratic. My conclusion?

I believe that by attacking Iraq, the USA is setting precedent for itself for future invasions. In other words, it is OK to invade another country if it is to “free” the people from oppressive anti-democratic dictators.

This really scares me!

The opposition to Chavez has been spreading all sorts of lies: Chavez is involved in terrorism with Saddam and company, the Chavez government is involved in chemical weapons manufacturing, Chavez is a dictator, he is anti-democratic, he is a communist, the Chavez government is oppressive, etc.

Doesn’t that now give the USA the “right” to militarily invade Venezuela? … to “liberate” the Venezuelan people from an oppressive anti-democratic, terrorist, communist dictator?
Why does the USA not “liberate” the Sudanese people? No oil perhaps? No easily accessible riches such as precious stones or gold? I do not know the answers to these questions … but I suspect this rhetoric is not far from the truth.

To come back to Venezuela ... Venezuela has a beautiful rich culture which I hope will not be lost to the “invaders.” I hope the “invaders” will never come.

The word "invaders" can be broken up into two words:

Raven: (verb): 1) to seize forcibly; 2) to plunder; 3) to devour greedily; 4) to have a voracious appetite.

Dis: (noun): 1) the god of the underworld, Pluto; 2) the underworld, Hades

I hope that the opposition to Chavez will think deeply about the repercussions of their actions and lies.

Oscar Heck

Vice President to meet Argentinean President today
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2003
By: Robert Rudnicki

Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel is set to meet Argentinean President Eduardo Duhalde and Foreign Minister Carlos Ruckauf later today as part of his tour of several Latin American countries as the Venezuelan government looks to increase awareness of the current political situation in Venezuela.

The three men will discuss progress made by the Friends of Venezuela group as well as the negotiations being facilitated by Organization of American States (OAS) secretary general Cesar Gaviria.

Also as part of the visit the Venezuelan Executive Vice President will make a presentation in front of the Argentinean Council on Foreign Relations about Venezuela's political landscape.
Rangel will also make time available for interviews as the government steps up its media offensive, as it tries to get its message out without interference from opposition media in Venezuela.

BBV's Banco Provincial Sees Venezuela 1st Quarter GDP -42.4%-Paper
Monday March 10, 11:17 PM

CARACAS -(Dow Jones)- Banco Bilbao Vizacaya Argentaria SA's (BBV) Venezuelan subsidiary forecasts a first quarter economic contraction of 42.4% in the country, local daily El Universal reported Monday.

The oil sector, which accounts for about a third of gross domestic product, will shrink 69.3% and the remainder will contract 32.5%, Banco Provincial's predicts, according to the report.

Provincial officials couldn't be reached for confirmation and further comment.

The report follows a 40% contraction forecast for the period made earlier by Banco Santander Central Hispano SA (STD).

Venezuela's economy has slowed dramatically after a devastating general strike against President Hugo Chavez's leadership began Dec. 2.

Most have returned to work but the two-month strike affected the economy to such an extent that the government was forced to halt foreign exchange sales to protect reserves, and impose price controls to curb soaring inflation.

The economy shrank about 9% last year, compared with 2.8% growth in 2001 and 3.2% growth in 2000.

El Universal Web site:

-By Jehan Senaratna, Dow Jones Newswires; 58212-564-1339;

GN border post seizes second cocaine haul in 15 days
Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

For the second time in just 15 days National Guard (GN) 31st border unit has seized 4.9 kilos of so-called black cocaine.

3rd GN Region (CORE-3) commander, General Miguel Ramirez Gonzalez says a Colombian was arrested carrying the drugs hidden in a false bottom of a suitcase.

“The dealer attempted to pass during the early hours of the morning when vigilance is slacker and tried to mix his baggage with that of traders carrying merchandise to the Maracaibo market.”

GN agents checking suitcases localized a paste that had a strong smell and after tests discovered it was cocaine.

Two weeks earlier the GN seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine.

PDVSA Rodriguez Araque says full Amuay refinery production expected soon
Posted: Friday, February 28, 2003
By: Robert Rudnicki

According to Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) president Ali Rodriguez Araque, the Amuay refinery should be completely up and running midway through March. If this is possible, it will be a huge step in the battle to recover Venezuelan production which fell sharply as a result of the opposition work stoppage. The refinery has a capacity of around 960,000 barrels per day.

Rodriguez also said that the force majeure will be lifted as soon as production recovers to above 2.5 million barrels per day. He estimates that current output is two million barrels per day, while striking PDVSA executives claim the number is nearer to 1.6 million.

"Of course as we normalize production, and this will occur when we're above 2.5 million barrels per day, the force majeure will be suspended entirely."

The force majeure in the east of Venezuela has already been lifted, but problems restarting complex older wells in the west of the country have delayed production rises.

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