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Venezuela can't, at least not without seriously hurting itself which would presumably hurt Chavez' domestic popularity. Its production is down, its consumption is up (courtesy of very heavily subsidized oil prices). And it's current aid program of at cost supply of 80,000 bd to Cuba, 30,000 bd to Nicaragua plus smaller amounts of politically motivated aid is already a significant expense -  more than the US spends on Iraq plus Afghanistan as a percentage of GDP.  On the other hand, the two biggest Latin American economies, Brazil and Mexico, don't import oil. Note that for Nicaragua this subsidy is absolutely huge as a percentage of GDP - $100x30kx365 = just over a billion dollars a year or almost one fifth of its 2006 GDP.
by MarekNYC on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:27:10 PM EST
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