Thursday, September 28, 2006

Speak softly and carry a big stick

Hunh. The market is getting upset at Venezuela.
The big blow came Wednesday when 7-Eleven announced it would not renew a 20-year contract with Venezuelan-owned gas supplier Citgo. Instead, it would start selling its own brand, to be supplied by three U.S. oil firms.

7-Eleven admitted Chavez was a public relations disaster for the firm after his United Nations speech, denouncing President Bush as "the devil," and affected its decision.

"Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president," said a 7-Eleven spokeswoman, who'd obviously been hearing from the public. "Chavez's position and statements over the past year or so didn't tempt us to stay with Citgo."
How bad could it be?
That's about 2,100 gas stations off the books for Citgo, cutting total outlets to 11,000.
That does look pretty bad.  No wait - it gets worse
What Caracas is staring at, dumbfounded, is the realization that Americans can use their formidable buying power to tell Chavez something he cynically thought he'd never hear: that his oil was not all that necessary.

That's bound to send a strong message to Caracas because Venezuela needs the $4 billion in U.S. yearly oil revenue to stay afloat and continue to throw its weight around on the world stage.

$4 billion buys a lot of hamburger in a place where your national expenditure for 2005 (estimated) is $41.27 billion.
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