- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Chinese loans put Venezuela over barrel
Oil giant risks bankruptcy
Question of the Day
BUENOS AIRES — Opposition groups in Venezuela are warning that billions of dollars in Chinese loans are driving the state oil company toward bankruptcy.
Miguel Rodriguez, an opposition member of Congress who leaked government memos from the Oil Ministry, predicted that the loans will “end up accelerating the bankruptcy” of Petroleum of Venezuela SA, known by its Spanish acronym, PDVSA.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez was so alarmed that he warned President Hugo Chavez that the terms of the loan - which require payment in hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil at cut-rate prices - are creating a “very heavy financial load for PDVSA.”
He said the loans are unconstitutional partly because they violate a national law prohibiting the use of state resources as loan guarantees.
“These are illegal debt mechanisms,” he said.
“The president uses the ‘China fund’ as if it were money in his own pocket,” he said.
“Venezuelans have no access to timely, reliable information, and as a consequence, we have no idea how much money is left, how much we owe or the terms under which we have to pay it off,” Mr. Capriles said during a debate in November.
Since 2007, Mr. Chavez’s government has received some $32 billion from China to finance infrastructure construction throughout the country and for oil projects in the Orinoco tar sands, the world’s single largest petroleum reserves, with 513 billion barrels of recoverable heavy crude oil.
Fueling the Chavez machine
Critics say the Chinese have given Mr. Chavez an untracked source of money that has propped up his political machine.
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Sarah Palin's online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Feds accept boredom, lack of work as excuses for surfing porn on clock
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world