To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Chavez Goes Castro

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced upon his swearing in for a new term as president that he will nationalize much of his country's industry. As proof that religion can be used to justify any range of political positions, Chavez said as his inauguration, "I swear by Christ, the greatest socialist in history."

Keep that in mind, evangelical Republicans, as you embrace religion as guiding politics, that it can cut both ways. The Founding Fathers had a great solution that is called the separation of Church and State.

But back to Chavez, his immediate plan is to nationalize the telecom and energy sectors. US companies AES and Verizon (and their shareholders) are in line to lose their hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in developing Venezuela. An NYT editorial put it well:
State control is rarely an efficient way to run companies. And nationalizations are not a good way to encourage further foreign investment. Mr. Chávez is already using the state-controlled oil company to reward his cronies at the expense of getting the best return on Venezuela’s most lucrative resource.

Exactly what form these nationalizations will take remains unclear. Whatever Mr. Chávez is planning, he needs to fairly compensate shareholders.
Unfortunately, all US diplomacy efforts are focused on the Iraq mess while our continental neighbors are radicalizing and threatening US interests.