Hugo Chavez: America Needs Oil “Like Air, Like Oxygen To Live, To Survive”
In an interview with CNN en Espanol, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his skepticism of the U.S. being capable of weaning itself off its addiction to petroleum by finding alternative energy sources.
“I don’t know how he will achieve what he said he would,” Chavez said of U.S. President Barack Obama’s ambitious energy plan, which includes the elimination of crude oil imports from Venezuela and the Middle East within 10 years.
Chavez said that he supports the move towards renewable energy, but that he doesn’t think the country can do it. The United States, a major Venezuelan oil consumer, needs petroleum “like air, like oxygen to live, to survive,” said Chavez, who once referred to President Bush as “the devil.”
For that very reason, he said, he isn’t worried about falling oil prices because the entire world is addicted to it. “The world will need to sustain its industrial rhythm,” he said.
Chavez better hope that he’s right, or the entire Venezuelan economy can crumble.
According to the CIA Factbook, oil revenues account for about 90 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings, about half of federal budget revenues and some 30 percent of their gross domestic product.
He also said that he looks forward to talking with Obama. “I wish we could restore relations to the same level we had with President Clinton,” Chavez said, referring to the 1993-2001 years.
Improved relations depend on the United States, he said. “We won’t accept disrespect from anyone.”
He also made sure to point out the good things his country does for the U.S. “We employ thousands of workers in the United States,” Chavez said. “We give aid to hundreds of thousands of poor families in the United States with our heating oil program.”
In an effort to wean the U.S. off its dependence on foreign oil, the Obama administration has laid out a number of steps in order to reach the goal of eliminating imports from the Middle East and Venezuela:
- Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
- Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
- Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
- Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
- A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
- Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.