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LA dictators and local GDP, Venezuela’s case

The petroleum sector dominates Venezuela mixed economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports and more than half of government revenues.

Gold, diamonds and iron ore are mined as well. Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks among the top ten crude oil producers in the world.

In February 1992 Hugo Chávez, an army paratrooper, staged a coup d’état attempt seeking to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez failed and was placed in jail. Chávez was acquitted in March 1994 by president Rafael Caldera.

In 1998, Chávez was elected president after a vigorous campaign, in contrast with the feeble discourse of the weakened traditional parties’ candidates. Read More…

On this day November 13, 1950

General Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, President of Venezuela, is assassinated in Caracas.

carlos-delgado-chalbaud1Carlos Delgado Chalbaud was a military man and a Venezuelan politician. He was known as Carlos Delgado Chalbaud because he used the last names of his father Román Delgado Chalbaud as a form of tribute to his memory.

He studied Engineering in France; after finishing his studies he returned to Paris and joined the Army with the rank of captain. As one of the brightest officials of the Armed Forces associated to the group that overthrew Isaías Medina Angarita. Read More…

Carter: US “likely behind” Venezuela coup

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter told Venezuelan newspaper El Tiempo that the United States was “likely behind” the failed 2002 coup that briefly unseated democratically elected president Hugo Chávez. A coup by a civilian-military junta in 2002 removed president Chávez from office, but he quickly regained the position.

Chávez, under arrest in Turiamo

Chávez, under arrest in Turiamo

“I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved,” Carter told El Tiempo on Sunday.

The Bush administration denied any involvement in the coup. Carter went on to say that it was understandable that Chávez still blames the U.S. for the coup.

Carter also stated his mixed feelings about Chávez, praising him for his social reforms but denouncing him for being uncooperative in making peace with the U.S. Read More…

On this day September 14, 1960

At a conference held in Baghdad, the governments of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela founded OPEC to help unify and coordinate their petroleum policies.

OPEC headquarters in Vienna

OPEC in Vienna

Venezuela was the first country to move towards the establishment of OPEC in the 1960’s by approaching Iran, Gabon, United Kingdom, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1949, suggesting that they exchange views and explore avenues for regular and closer communication among petroleum-producing nations.

In 10-14 September 1960, at the initiative of the Venezuelan Energy and Mines minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo and the Saudi Arabian Energy and Mines minister Abdullah al-Tariki, the governments of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of the crude oil produced by their respective countries. Read More…

Chavez’s trade measures against Colombia

Chavez said he would halt the import of 10,000 cars from Colombia and ban a Colombian energy firm from developing Venezuela’s oil-rich region.

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

Last week, Mr Chavez recalled his envoy from Bogota over accusations that Venezuela had sold arms to Farc rebels.

He said that rocket launchers and automatic rifles found in a Colombian rebel camp had been stolen from a Venezuelan naval post 14 years ago.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is currently visiting Chile and Argentina – on the latest stage of his regional tour to try to reassure South American leaders over the deployment of US troops. Read More…

Venezuela to ‘freeze’ ties with Colombia

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, announced on Tuesday that “We will freeze relations with Colombia.” He attributed the decision to “new aggression by the government of Colombia.” Further, he said, “I’ve ordered to withdraw our ambassador from Bogota, to withdraw our diplomatic personnel.”

This diplomatic move follows claims by Colombia that amongst weapons its military has captured from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are AT4 anti-tank rockets manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics of Sweden. Colombia further alleges that the weapons were first sold to Venezuela before being given to the FARC.

“This is not the first time that this happens,” Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos said. “In several operations in which we have recovered weapons from the FARC, we have found powerful munitions and powerful equipment, including anti-tank weapons, from a European country that sold them to Venezuela and that turned up in the hands of the FARC.” Read More…

Venezuela bans Coke Zero

Coke Zero, a product of the Coca-Cola Company has been banned in Venezuela by the government. Jesús Mantilla, the health minister for Venezuela stated the ban is to preserve the health of Venezuelans but did not specify what problems could be caused with consuming Coke Zero. Coca-Cola agreed to abide by the ban but claimed that Coke Zero contained no harmful ingredients.


“Coca Cola Zero is made under the highest quality standards around the world and meets the sanitary requirements demanded by the laws of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” said Coca Cola in a statement.

Coke Zero, which was first sold in 2005 in the United States, was launched in Venezuela in April and Coca-Cola Femsa, the Mexican company who bottles the drink, hoped to increase the market share for low calorie drinks by up to 200 percent. Coke Zero contains no sugar and was created to be an alternative to Coca-Cola Classic. Read More…

LA migrant workers remittances

Slumping economies in the United States, Spain and Japan are causing reverberations in the countries of Latin America as migrant workers send less money home.

Latin America

Latin America

The Inter-American Development Bank reported that for the first time since they began tracking remittances in 2000, remittances to Latin America declined in the fourth quarter of 2008, dropping 2% relative to the fourth quarter of 2007.

In January, remittances declined further, with Colombia experiencing a 16% drop relative to 2008, Brazil suffering a 14% decline, Mexico 12%, and Guatemala and El Salvador each falling 8%.

These numbers come as 2008 saw an average 10% increase in remittances. Nearly US$70 billion was sent back to families in those areas in 2008. Read More…