Venezuela’s tottering economy is forcing Hugo Chávez to make deals with foreign corporations to save his socialist revolution from going broke.
The Venezuelan president has courted European, American and Asian companies in behind-the-scenes negotiations that highlight a severe financial crunch in his government.
Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, is the engine of the economy but buckled when given an ultimatum by its Italian counterpart and has scrambled to attract foreign partners, according to confidential US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.
The memos depict an unfolding economic fiasco and suggest some of Chávez’s key allies – Argentina, Brazil and Cuba – are gravely concerned at Venezuela’s direction. “President Chávez, for his part, is acutely aware of the impact the country’s general economic trajectory has had on his popularity,” says one cable.