Cheap oil for Venezuelans is nothing new; when President Pérez tried to raise gasoline prices in 1989, the riots nearly toppled him. The Venezuelans feel it is their oil; why should they have to pay for it? But the subsidies are much deeper and the quantities greater today. A gallon of gasoline costs 6.3 cents at the pump at the unofficial exchange rate. And Venezuela is now gorging on gas. Venezuela will add 450,000 new cars this year — about four times the number of four years ago. Six Hummer dealerships are set to open early next year.While the world's increasing dependency on carbon-rich fossil fuel is certainly bad for the environment, it has also been proven to be a curse for oil producing countries such as Venezuela, creating a vicious cycle of corruption, poverty, political conflict and environmental damage.
Oil is now used to create electricity. Some of Venezuela’s electric plants used to burn natural gas, but gas production has dropped, creating shortages that oil is filling. Domestic consumption of oil has reached at least 650,000 barrels a day, according to Venezuelan economists.
In light of this depressing situation, it's refreshing and uplifting to hear that the recently founded Green Party of Venezuela, Movimiento Ecológico de Venezuela, is currently hosting an international gathering of the Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas. Visit their web site for more information about the event. The principles of the Greens are: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy, Nonviolence, Sustainability and Respect Diversity.