HomePare de sufrirVenezuela, hope and resistance

Venezuela, hope and resistance

We live in diminished times for hope, and more difficult times for resistance. The world suffers a confrontation that measures the economic and military power of three hegemonic powers. The systematic annihilation of relatively defenseless peoples, such as the Palestinians, shows the quasi-uselessness of international organizations and the norms that govern them. Countries that were hegemonic have descended into semi-colonies, useful only to be sacrificed as mercenaries in imperial wars.

To understand a problem is to begin to solve it. The hegemony of the West has as its basis and purpose the domination of fossil energy. The contests of the 20th century and those of the 21st have been fights to monopolize it. The First World War broke out to dispute Germany and the great Ottoman Empire for the oil reserves of the Middle East. The Second attempted to wrest the Baku oil fields from Soviet control. The remaining conflicts disputed or secured peripheral areas of large hydrocarbon deposits or routes for their transportation. All confrontations in the Middle East have had oil as their baptismal font: even the genocide perpetrated in Gaza targets the gas on its coast.

Such a conflictive picture is due to the fact that close to 80% of the energy that keeps the world running is of fossil origin. The current powers owe their status to it. On the other hand, the possibility of extracting, transporting, transforming and taking advantage of the remaining resources depends on it, the majority located in developing countries, while the companies that take advantage of them depend on parent companies located in developed countries.

This situation will come to an end with the depletion of fossil energy. Its reserves are not renewable and various indicators predict the arrival of the “peak hydrocarbons” after which they will become increasingly scarce, difficult to extract and uneconomical.

Russian Finance Minister Vladimir Kolichev estimates that “peak consumption may well have passed” (https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/russia-starts-preparing-for-life-after-peak-fossil- fuels). British Petroleum estimates that it will never return to the level of 2019, “the highest mark in the history of oil.” Norway's state-owned company Equinor places the collapse in production towards 2027-28; the researcher from that country Rystad Energy predicts it for 2028; the French Total SA towards 2030; the consulting firm Mc Kinsey by 2033; Bloomberg NEF group and Wood Mackenzie consultants in 2035; The most optimistic estimate is that of Opec, which dates it to around 2040, just 16 years from now (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-peak-oil-era-is-suddenly-upon-us/) .
Such calculations are approximate and could change due to the discovery of new deposits, but they do not alter reality: hydrocarbons are not a renewable natural resource. We have a fixed reserve of them, which does not allow extension or growth, and for a limited period. This must be applied primarily to the activation of renewable energies that allow maintaining some of the elements of the current civilizational process within four or five decades, a period after which possibly fossil energy will have been exhausted or its extraction will require more energy than it will provide. .

This urgently rethinks the centuries-old debate about who owns natural resources, whether there should be limitations on their exploitation, and who should establish them. It is obvious that the hegemonic powers consider themselves owners of the world's energy sources and competent to set or not set the limitations that interest them for their exploitation. To materialize this goal, they advance four strategies:

1) The open military invasion with any invented pretext to establish occupation governments that take over energy reserves or their strategic routes, as happened in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

2) The growing political interference to establish governments that privatize these reserves and the industries that exploit them, and cede control of them to companies from hegemonic countries, as happened in Iraq after the overthrow of Mossadegh.

3) The delivery of said reserves under the regime of special zones to multinationals that will not pay taxes to the owner countries, will not abide by labor or union regulations nor will they be subject to local laws or courts.

4) The control of the exploitation of said reserves through the imposition of supranational environmental regulations or any other type that de facto snatch control over their resources from the countries where they are located.

The powers advance in the individual and joint application of the aforementioned strategies, their culmination equivalent to the loss of the territorial sovereignty and heritage of the affected countries.

Resistance has been raised against all of them: the history of contemporary times is nothing more than the confrontation between such proposals and the peoples of the world.

In relation to the fourth strategy of dominance, the truth is that it is the hegemonic countries that devour, destroy and pollute the planet the most with their industries oriented towards consumerism, their goods designed for obsolescence, their weapons production, their wars, their oversizing of tourism and the widespread devastation spread by their farms. To reduce such harmful effects, it would be enough for them to stop consuming energy, but they do not do so. Instead, they set up “license to pollute” markets, in which you can buy permission to poison one area of ​​the planet in exchange for not doing so in another, or they launch energy-consuming initiatives to reactivate the capitalist cycle, such as the autoelectric one. .

Thus in Copenhagen, Chávez speaks out against “a farce designed to allow a capitalism without conscience to manage to evade its own responsibilities and to present itself as if it were free of dust and chaff.” And he concludes: “Let's change the system, not the climate” (Voltaire Network, December 16, 2009).

While there is hope, there is resistance.

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