Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not Everything Is Rosy In Venezuela

By all accounts, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez enjoyed the first day of the Copa America yesterday. He had Diego Maradona on one side of him, and on the other, Bolivian president Evo Morales. While the night ended in a draw for both of their countries, Chavez woke up to two headaches this morning.

Chavez's decree that there wouldn't be any demonstrations in and around the tournament venues was tested today when journalists and political foes marched peacefully through the streets of Caracas. It'll be interesting to see how much patience Chavez really has before cracking down.

Also on the Venezuelan's radar will be the news that two U.S. oil companies are refusing to hand over control of their major investments in Venezuela, stakes valued in the billions. The country has some of the most coveted oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere, and ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil are expecting something in the order of $3.5B (Conoco) and $800M (Exxon) before they leave Venezuela.

Chavez and Evo preside over inauguration of Copa America [Granma International]
Venezuelans March for Free Speech on RCTV Anniversary [Bloomberg]
2 Oil Firms Are Defiant in Venezuela [New York Times]


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