Exxon's Lonely Battle
February 14, 2008
Irvine, CA--Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is angrily threatening to halt oil exports to the United States, in retaliation against Exxon Mobil. Exxon has used court proceedings to freeze Venezuelan assets in America, in an attempt to recoup some of the billions of dollars it lost when Venezuela nationalized Exxon's oil operations there last summer.
"Venezuela's nationalization of oil assets was pure theft, not a private contract dispute," said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute. "The Bush administration last year should have denounced Chavez's oil grab as a form of robbery and cut off diplomatic relationships with Venezuela. But Bush did nothing and said nothing.
"Now Exxon is fighting a lonely battle in the courts, facing down an armed dictatorship that sneers at private property rights and dares anyone to defy its might. Yet a Bush spokesperson recently dismissed the matter as 'private civil litigation, which we won't comment on.'
"If there is anything the President of the United States should 'comment on,' it is the brazen theft of American property by a thuggish, petulant dictator. This is not 'private civil litigation' but a public outrage. Venezuela is joining the already-numerous ranks of hostile states funded by stolen Western oil assets."
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Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, focusing on legal issues. A former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland, his Op-Eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and many other newspapers. Mr. Bowden has given dozens of radio interviews and has appeared on the Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.
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