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December 6, 2014

How Obama Props Up Venezuela's Dictator and His Political Mischief

  Rare

Venezuela would likely be facing imminent financial collapse if it weren’t for President Obama’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. As a result, the country’s socialist strongman, President Nicolás Maduro, is able to continue spreading money and mischief throughout the world.

The once-robust and prosperous Venezuelan economy is collapsing under Maduro, who has followed in the socialist footsteps of the previous elected strongman, the late Hugo Chavez. About the only thing propping up the country is its revenue from crude oil exports—thanks in large part to the U.S.

According the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Venezuela is the third largest oil exporter to the U.S.—about 25 million barrels of oil per month.

Venezuela needs the U.S. because it needs our dollars and our Gulf Coast refineries that specialize in processing the heavy crude that Venezuela produces. But the U.S. also needs Venezuela’s oil—or at least it did. There now exists an alternative source of heavy crude oil, from an ally rather than an enemy, that could take its place—Canada and the Keystone XL pipeline.

That pipeline would be able to pump 830,000 barrels of heavy Canadian oil per day to those Gulf Coast refineries processing Venezuela’s. That works out to be 25 million barrels a month—exactly the same amount we import from Venezuela. Since those refineries are operating at close to full capacity, a barrel of Canadian oil would replace, not be in addition to, a barrel of Venezuelan oil.

Had Obama approved the Keystone XL early in his administration, the XL would be up and running. That means the nearly $2 billion we spend every month on Venezuelan crude oil (estimating a mid-range $75 per barrel) would be handed to our largest trading partner and one of our best allies.

Instead, our dollars bankroll a country that the U.S. State Department says:

  • There were credible reports that Venezuela maintained a permissive environment that allowed for support of activities that benefited known terrorist groups.
  • Maintained economic, financial, and diplomatic cooperation with Iran.
  • Was not cooperating fully with U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

Not to mention the country’s efforts to shut down a free press, expropriate privately owned property, and harass its citizens who oppose the government. Other than that…

For years the U.S. didn’t have a choice; we needed Venezuelan oil. But the Keystone XL pipeline has given the U.S. an option between Canada and Venezuela.

Obama has made his choice: He’s for propping up Venezuela and its strongman.


 

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