Friday, April 04, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Venezuelan bits and bobs. We haven't checked out Chavez for a while, what's he up to?

There have been some recent moves at the top of Bolivarian politics. The state is to harvest another windfall from oil revenues.

The tax will take 50% of oil revenues above $70 per barrel, and an additional 60% of revenues over $100 per barrel, legislator Angel Rodriguez said.

Oil is currently trading above $104 per barrel.


Keep this story pegged. The smirking joy at the government's referrendum defeat in December might be premature. If the right-wing are still on the front foot then they will challenge this policy. Will there/won't there be a fight over oil revenues, if so, who will win?

What will the extra revenue go toward? The government is also nationalising cement production:

In a TV address, he [Chavez] said his government could not allow private companies to export cement that was needed to tackle a severe housing shortage.

Mr Chavez promised they would be paid fair compensation for the forthcoming state takeover of what he described as a strategic industry.


Which is nice of him , but then Chavez is a very nice man. Said housing shortage, I'd imagine, is a result of the lopsided development of the country connected with Venezuela's poor agriculture. The CIA factbook estimates land use in Venezuela at:

arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 0.88%
other: 96.27% (2005)


Which, if you take a look at a common map of the country suggests "other" overwhelmingly means "nothing". Most of Venezuela is empty, the majority of the population is packed onto a costal strip around Caracas.

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