Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is back to what he does best: threatening people when events don’t go his way.
This time, he threatened to cut off oil exports to the USA if courts rule against his seizing Exxon Mobil assets and freeze Venezuelan assets in retaliation.
Chavez threatened yesterday to cut off oil sales to the United States if Exxon Mobil Corp wins court judgments to seize Venezuelan assets valued in the billions of dollars.
Chavez issued his threats as Exxon Mobil moved through the legal system in an effort to try and recoup the billions it lost when Chavez seized Exxon Mobil assets in Venezuela when he nationalized an Exxon Mobil oil project.
Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA in U.S., British and Dutch courts.
A British court has issued an injunction “freezing” as much as $12 billion in assets.
“If you end up freezing (Venezuelan assets) and it harms us, we’re going to harm you,” Chavez said. “Do you know how? We aren’t going to send oil to the United States. Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger.”
“I speak to the U.S. empire, because that’s the master: continue and you will see that we won’t sent one drop of oil to the empire of the United States,” Chavez said during his weekly radio and television program, “Hello, President.”
“The outlaws of Exxon Mobil will never again rob us,” Chavez said, accusing the Irving, Texas-based oil company of acting in concert with Washington.
Chavez has continually threatened to cut off U.S. oil imports from his nation if the U.S. attempts to oust him.
“If the economic war continues against Venezuela, the price of oil is going to reach $200 (a barrel) and Venezuela will join the economic war,” Chavez said. “And more than one country is willing to accompany us in the economic war.”
So Hugo Chavez threatens the United States with war?
At present, the Venezuelan strongman is aided and abetted by those in Congress, including Senator John McCain, who limit the drilling for U.S. oil in the United States.
Of course, the American president has little control over the U.S. legal system, one lesson in American civics that is probably lost on Chavez, who has steadily consolidated his power over his countrymen.
As more Venezuelans mount protests against his anti-democratic tactics, Chavez has turned more and more to a foreign bogeyman to try and rally support at home: the U.S. and president George Bush.
However, Chavez might do well to recall an old chess maxim.
“The threat is stronger than the execution.”