Shutting Down CITGO
C. L. Cook
October 21, 2005
Discounting the possibility of the success of a supposed "planned invasion" of Venezuela, Chavez said he felt compelled to issue a warning as to the consequences, saying:
"If it occurs to them [United States] to invade Venezuela to try to halt the process in Venezuela, that would start a 100-year war. We would defend against it with our teeth, with our nails."
But, Chavez has more than hands and teeth in his arsenal.
Venezuela currently supplies more than 1.5 million barrels of crude to the U.S. per day, or roughly fifteen percent of America's imports. Only Canada and Saudi Arabia supply more. But the president, who warned the Bush administration last March, following another intelligence bulletin, vital oil supplies would be cut-off entirely should he be killed, added a new wrinkle to the scope of his country's retaliatory power should something untoward befall either he, or Venezuela.
In addition to the significance of Venezuelan oil, Chavez reminded, CITGO, Venezuela's nationalized oil company, operates eight refineries and more than 14,000 gas stations within the U.S.
"We are sure that it will be very difficult for the United States to attack Venezuela, he said. "If the United States tried to attack Venezuela by a direct invasion, forget the oil."
In an allusion to televangelist, and one-time Republican presidential hopeful, Pat Robertson's now infamous call for his head, Chavez said:
"The barrel price of crude oil could hit $150 following a U.S. attack. That's why Pat Robertson, the spiritual adviser of Mr. Bush, is calling for my assassination - that would be much cheaper than an invasion."
Excoriating U.S. media propagandizing against he and the "people's revolution" he represents, President Chavez concluded, saying he wouldn't be surprised if the USA says Osama bin Laden is living in the Presidential Palace in Caracas.
The Bush administration denies there are now, or have been in the past, any plots against either Chavez, or Venezuela.
Chris Cook serves as a contribution editor to PEJ News. He also hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.