Cuba and Venezuela: Good Energy News
In a time when even bullish energy analysts and George Bush acknowleges the looming crisis in oil reserves, and the notion of nationalization is becoming popular in Canada and even (mentioned) here in the US, one today must dig to find tangible progress for people. in Cuba and Venezuela state planning and mobilization efforts are showing the benefits of a State-led approach to other countries. This is why these 2 countries are really dispised, they give people "bad ideas" and higher expectations of government.
In Venezuela, (from Business Week) President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Venezuela expects to reap an additional US$1.5 billion (euro1.24 billion) this year in oil income with the return of 32 privately operated oil fields to state control. He said Friday those contracts allowed foreign companies to extract oil at US$4 (euro3.30) a barrel then sell it to the national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, at US$20 (euro16.54). The contracts also required PDVSA to pay the related royalties. "Now this perverse mechanism is over," Chavez declared as he promised to divert the additional revenues from the mixed companies to social programs.
In Cuba, Fidel Castro announced that Cuba will be "blackout free" starting May 1st. This truly would be amazing as fits of mostly schedule blackouts have become a major problem the last 1 or 2 years, a result of aging infrastructure (that often can't be easily repaired because of the embargo) and mother nature (hurricanes). But an aggressive, sustainable plan has been worked out whereby solar and wind power, along with increased energy efficiency and new generators will make this annoyance history.
Meanwhile in the US, where our energy policy is written by the energy companies themselves, we seem suprised by $80 BILLION dollar profits and our inability to do anything constructive to help the poor make it through the winter in the Northeast or to step rising gas prices. Fortunately, Venezuela has announced plans to expand efforts to help the poor across the region cope.