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Venezuela: Why The Oil Bosses Are 'Striking'
THE CORRUPT reactionary nature of the leadership of the anti-Chavez protests in Venezuela is shown by information recently sent to us by the CWI's correspondent in Trinidad.
THE 22 "strike leaders", all of whom are directors of the oil company PDVSA, each have an annual salary which averages out at US $643,000! The lowest-paid is Luis Ramirez who makes US $238,000 and the highest paid is Karl Mazeika who nets US $761,000 per annum.
This makes their average income 100 times greater than the income of the average Venezuelan - who earns US $4,760.
In 1976 PDVSA received US $9 billion for its operations and handed over US $7 billion to the Treasury. By 1995 its income had reached US $27.261 billion but the Treasury only received US $4.9 billion. In other words only 20% of income reached the government.
Could it be an accident that government proposals to reclaim this lost 80% of revenue - which are due to become law this month - have anything to do with the current attempt by the reactionary opposition to bring down the government?
ONE OF the side effects of the crisis in Venezuela is a rise in global oil prices as output is affected in an important oil-producing area.
A war in Iraq would have even bigger consequences for the fragile economies of the Middle East and would also hit those of the USA and the rest of the Western economies.
The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies calculates that oil prices could soar up to $40 a barrel if the war in Iraq took up to four months.
For further coverage of the situation in Venezuela, see the CWI website www.worldsocialist-cwi.org
In The Socialist 10 January 2003: