By David Fraser
PDVSA, pronounced PEDEVESA, was the best run oil company in the world. Pumping 6 million BPD of crude oil from land based sources, producing more than enough hydroelectricity to supply Venezuela and sell to Brazil and other South American neighbours, and was considered the largest and best petroleum refining nation on planet earth.
David Fraser is a journalist and talk show host on the Face-Off programme on Talk City 91.1FM in Trinidad and Tobago
Like Petrotrin, PDVA has been reduced to a shell of itself, staffed by political appointees, its 20,000 core staff of engineers, petroleum economists, traders, drilling and field personnel and the institutional memory of a 100-year-old oil industry has long left for Calgary, Canada, and Brazil. These countries, desperately wanting to develop their oil and gas industry, short circuited the 100-year process of developing capacity by buying out the human resources of PDVSA desperate to leave the failed state.
Chavez, a paratrooper, semi-educated socialist tyrant, fired everyone at the company, saying they were against his Bolivarian socialist expansion policies. In Trinidad, we watch our largest neighbour, a mere seven miles at the closest point, just wither away, powerless to do or say anything, fearing that we too could become embroiled in cross border problems with the military communist regime.
However, we were quick to act on the Dominican Republic high court's ruling to send back Haitians who were living there if their parentage were not Dominican. Not discounting one for the other, mass murder is taking place in Venezuela, young women lay bleeding in the streets with their breasts and buttocks busted open by gun fire by armed Cuban militias, who were brought in as reinforcements to shoot down the Venezuelan people, who by the millions are on the streets of Caracas.
The government has closed off social media, acquired every independent radio and television station, and has now been trying to block NTN 24, a Colombian television station that has been highlighting the violence.
The state has even gone the extra mile to disrupt the internet system, fearing they may not be able to block social media even if they tried, as persons can get around the process, and are now sabotaging the telephone system, and have suspended the texting platform altogether, causing gridlock on the telephone network in a bid to suppress a murderous crackdown on millions of students.
There has not been any toilet paper in the country for years as the state acquired all the factories, turned them over to the masses to manage and they just fell apart. You cannot get rice, sugar, milk, eggs, nothing in Caracas. Supermarkets raided by the military and mandated to sell at state created prices have closed operations, importers and distributors and planters cannot work with the North Korean type policies deployed in the communist dictatorship called Venezuela.
Maduro, a bus driver, sought a mandate to govern by fiat and his members of the communist dictatorship voted in the Parliament or the Congress to bestow upon him the supreme authority of an emperor.
Every single day of the week, a new decree comes out, and if it does not suit Maduro's fancy, he just makes another, no debate, nothing in writing, just by mere speech, like to forgive any military personnel who would have killed anyone protesting against the communist tyrannical government.
Once considered the Miami of South America, Venezuela, at the start of the 21st century, had the largest middle class outside the United States and North America, and was the largest successful industrial country with almost every Fortune 500 company having operations there. That is no longer the case.
The government forcibly acquired everything through its seize and distribute policy, even commandeering golf courses and giving it to poor or Barrios people which have since become nesting grounds for anaconda, mapanare, vectors such as mosquitoes, hiding places for criminals and a new resort for wild animals and stray dogs.
The demagogue called Chavez had no restraint on his excess. Like Syria, Venezuela may be plunged into a civil war, with nowhere to turn, millions of its citizens may flee to safer havens, and Trinidad could be a major fallout.
The Venezuelans are people like anyone else, and need our governments to do something. The country is producing about 500,000 barrels of oil per day, most of which is quickly refined into diesel and sold by the generals and the money banked in Spain, Cayman Islands and Curacao.
PDVSA has no credit rating and no management. All the countries in PetroCaribe are in trouble, unable to say anything, as they too have supported the madness in Venezuela and the killing and murder of the citizenry, while they too have destroyed their economies.
Venezuela will come home to roost sooner rather than later; hopefully, the marches that are taking place will get rid of the corrupt murderous Maduro regime, and also get some form of intervention into that country, as the people are left helpless against a government which, aided and abetted by the Cubans wearing motorcycle helmets, are killing the unarmed people of Venezuela with impunity... man, woman and child.
Cuba is a dangerous tyrannical country, dependent on Venezuela for fuel oil to keep the lights on, and with the blockade and embargo still in force, they are finding it difficult to hold on to power, despite the state violence.
Millions of mothers marched in Caracas on Saturday, as they said their sons were the only ones dying, and they too want to be part of that struggle. After such a successful march on Saturday, February 15, the entire country is coming out and the Cuban army will now have to shoot them down by the millions of the government hopes to survive.
Every right thinking citizen ought to stand in support of this rebellion and once and for all not only remove the tyrannical government, but hunt their friends and family worldwide like the post World War II war crimes tribunal and bring them to justice and hang them. Something must be done to remedy this problem; it is the same issues affecting St Vincent and St Kitts.
To do nothing will mean we are waiting for the problem to reach here, which sooner rather than later could become a real possibility.