A new US assessment of Venezuela’s oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia.
Scientists working for the US Geological Survey say Venezuela’s Orinoco belt region holds twice as much petroleum as previously thought.
The geologists estimate the area could yield more than 500bn barrels of crude oil.
Phi Beta Iota: This is consistent with both the Brazilian discoveries and the rare nature of the Amazon region. All signs point to a re-emergence of the United Nations of South America (UNASUR) as a major political, socio-eceonomic, ideo-cultural, and techno-demographic “bloc” in the next quarter century. If they create their own Multinational Engagement network for regional information-sharing and sense-making, with a model that can be ported to South Africa for extension into that continent, and to the Indonesia-Malaysia axis with Singapore as a central hub for Chinese diaspora influence, the balance of power in the world will change dramatically. The “closed model” of top down command and control has faded, the “open model” of networks is emergent. Latin American populism is a force that cannot be repressed, it can only be respected.
Muscling Latin America: The Pentagon has a new Monroe Doctrine (The Nation)
In September Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, delivered on an electoral promise and refused to renew Washington’s decade-old, rent-free lease on an air base outside the Pacific coast town of Manta, which for the past ten years has served as the Pentagon’s main South American outpost. The eviction was a serious effort to fulfill the call of Ecuador’s new Constitution to promote “universal disarmament” and oppose the “imposition” of military bases of “some states in the territory of others.” It was also one of the most important victories for the global demilitarization movement, loosely organized around the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, since protests forced the US Navy to withdraw from Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 2003. Correa, though, couldn’t resist an easy joke. “We’ll renew the lease,” he quipped, “if the US lets us set up a base in Miami.”
Funny. Then Washington answered with a show of force: take away one, we’ll grab seven. In late October the United States and Colombia signed an agreement granting the Pentagon use of seven military bases, along with an unlimited number of as yet unspecified “facilities and locations.”
Connect these dots: In Nigeria this week, Muslim youths set fire to a church, killing more than two dozen Christian worshippers. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been suffering increased persecution including, this month, a drive-by shooting outside a church in which seven people were murdered. In Pakistan, Christian churches were bombed over Christmas. In Turkey, authorities have been closing Christian churches, monasteries and schools. Recently, churches in Malaysia have been attacked, too, provoked by this grievance: Christians inside the churches were referring to God as “Allah.” How dare infidels use the same name for the Almighty as do Muslims!
Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from humble shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.
Destroyed communications made it impossible to tell the extent of destruction from Tuesday afternoon’s 7.0-magnitude tremor, or to estimate how many were dead among the collapsed buildings in Haiti’s capital of about 2 million people.
France’s foreign minister said the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was apparently among the dead.