Venezuelan oil reserves were once the exclusive property of the USA. It's corrupt political puppets in Venezuela granted oil rights to US companies at bargain prices and annexed a handsome share of the profits for themselves. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Hugo Chavez, elected in 1998 with 59% of the vote on the platform of fairly sharing the oil wealth, regained state control of the petroleum industry in 2004. It's no surprise that, since then, he has been subject to an intense barrage of political propaganda from US media outlets. Despite being democratically elected in some of the cleanest elections on the continent, he is consistently characterised as a dictator by the US political elite. The US are even stationing their military on the soil of Venezuela's neighbour, Colombia, under the guise of the "War on Drugs". Anybody the least bit familiar with historical US interventions on South American soil recognise this military build up as nothing less than bully boy tactics.
Chavez understands that power comes in numbers. His strategy in dealing with US aggression has been to form strategic unions with Latin American countries and other important world powers. Yesterday saw the consolidation of arguably the most important of Venezuela's geopolitical relationships - that with China. Most economists recognise that China will surpass the US as the world's major economic power in the next 40 to 50 years. Chavez has capitalised on this fact by forming a huge $20bn joint venture with China to develop the oil reserves of the Orinoco block, the world's biggest, off the coast of Venezuela. Chavez took the time to highlight the difference between historical financing arrangements with US organisations, such as the IMF, that came with a host of US friendly conditions and the new deal with China, that's condition free.
This latest agreement comes weeks after a similar deal with Russia. Venezuela also has other oil deals with Japan, Argentina, Italy and Spain. Chavez's ultimate aim is to emancipate Venezuela and South America from US influence. The formation of long-term oil-development joint ventures that strengthen political alliances with non-US powers is the perfect way to achieve this.