After major reserves were tapped near Lake Maracaibo in 1914, oil workers from the United States poured into Venezuela. They helped build many of the country’s cities, and instilled in the country a love of baseball, whiskey and big gas-guzzling cars, differentiating it forever from its South American neighbors. Venezuela also became a driving force in the founding of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960, and helped Arab nations take control of their oil wealth, shaping the global energy market and the geopolitical order for decades to come. Fast forward.
Venezuela’s colossal oil sector, which shaped the country and the international energy market for a century, has come to a near halt, with production reduced to a trickle by years of gross mismanagement. The collapse is leaving behind a destroyed economy and a devastated environment, and many analysts say, bringing to an end the era of Venezuela as an energy powerhouse. Venezuela’s days as a petrostate are gone. Almost a Trillion dollars a year in oil revenues are gone.
Today, abandoned underwater wells and pipelines spill oil into the country’s waterways coating the crabs that former oil workers haul from the lake with blackened hands. When it rains, oil that has oozed into the sewage system comes up through manholes and drains, coursing with rainwater through the streets, smearing houses and filling the town with its gaseous stenches.
Today, near Venezuela’s massive coastal refineries, residents forage for firewood and trawl their fishing nets on foot to find food. Their fishing boats are beached without gasoline, and their kitchens have long run out of cooking gas. Refineries that once processed oil for export are rusting hulks, leaking crude that blackens shorelines and coats the water in an oily sheen. Fuel shortages have brought
the country to a standstill. At gas stations, lines go on for miles. Venezuela still floats in an Ocean of sweet crude oil with the world’s largest proven oil reserves,but there are no jobs, no gasoline, no infrastructure. Why? I’m glad you asked. Socialism.
Hugo Chávez, appeared on the national stage in the 1990s promising a socialist revolution that would put Venezuela’s oil to work for its poor majority. Chavez captivated the nation and soon after he was elected president in 1998, riding a popular wave of free everything, Chávez commandeered the country’s once capable and respected state oil company for his radical development program. He fired nearly 20,000 oil professionals, nationalized foreign-owned oil assets and allowed allies like Cuba, to plunder the oil revenues. Now, Venezuela’s economy, once the richest in Latin America, is comparable to that of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been plagued by civil wars since independence from its European master, Belgium. The country now has the highest poverty rate in Latin America, overtaking Haiti this year.
Venezuelans today, have no petrostate, no gasoline, no food, no medicine. What they do have is oil spilling and seeping everywhere polluting the environment and making a starving people even sicker. Venezuela was once known for two major exports. Sweet crude oil and beauty Queens in the form of Miss Universes. Oil is no longer and export and the Miss Universes have now been replaced by prostitutes, as beautiful Venezuelan young women sell themselves in neighboring countries to try to make a living. The Devil’s excrement, is what Venezuelans say Socialism turned oil into.