Letters to the Editor
November 03, 2008
The Oct. 26 editorial "Rogue States Gone Bust" wrongly labeled Venezuela a "rogue." The country is one of the longest-standing democracies and most important trade partners of the United States in the hemisphere.
President Hugo Chávez recently said that "the U.S. is a great country . . . what we need to do is talk." Indeed, he has criticized the widely unpopular and unilateral policies of the Bush administration. Venezuela has endured aggressive acts such as U.S. support for the 2002 coup in Venezuela, a subsequent embargo on sales of military equipment and frequent condemnations from the State Department.
Experts have found that Venezuela will fare better than most nations in the global financial crisis. All oil states are familiar with economic booms and busts, but Venezuela is well prepared to experience lean times -- it has $40 billion in foreign currency reserves, tens of billions more in discretionary funds and a strong Standard & Poor's credit rating on government debt.
Mr. Chávez has said that current rates of social spending on anti-poverty programs can continue even if oil falls to $55 per barrel. Many forget that when Venezuela began investing in these programs five years ago, oil was far cheaper still, at around $25 per barrel.
The writer is communications manager of the Venezuela Information Office, which is sponsored by the Venezuelan government.