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Amazing, the Economist while critical of Chavez, admits it's
not just an eeeeeeeevil leftie commie guy by quoting someone
critical of Chavez (in Chavez's own government),

Others on the left, though, think even the new, tougher terms are a sell-out. Mazhar al-Shereidah, a Venezuelan oil economist of Iraqi origin, argues that the new arrangements relieve the oil firms of all risk. It is “tragi-comic”, he says, that they are being given a so-called ultimatum to accept just the sort of joint-ventures that they have happily agreed elsewhere. Conservative regimes in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states would not dream of letting foreign firms into their upstream business in this way, he says.

And while throwing a "legally questionable potshot at Chavez
for changing the contract the Economist admits "accounting
wheezes" were used by the oil firms to wriggle out of
how much they have to pay, admits increased tax rates are
allowed, and finally admits,

"However, the reality is that in recent years, oil firms have lost market power relative to countries with hydrocarbon reserves, and Mr Chávez's government is only doing the same as others worldwide, from Russia to North Africa Most analysts in Venezuela, regardless of their politics, agree that some sort of redefinition of the terms of the oil “opening” was overdue: besides earning lustier profits than anyone envisaged when the contracts were first signed, the foreign oil firms have come under fire for using accounting wheezes to reduce their tax payments.

One wonders if the Economist is nervous about "leftist
critics" of Chavez threatening moves that would take out
more of the sweet extra pofits out than Chavez would,
or is it, that they detect a sea change going on (as with
"[Chavez] is only doign the same as others worldwide" admission)
and repositioning its thinking about how the oil players
can best strategize in a new environment, instead of hoping
the USMC will crush the new environment, adapting to it instead? Intersting times, interesting article.
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