December 29, 2002

Credibility Gap
...or: the broken record defense

December 5th
Inter-Press Service
In a nationally broadcast message Thursday, Chvez stated emphatically that "I will not allow our leading industry to be brought to a halt."

December 8th
"They are not going to break PDVSA, they are not going to stop it," the president said on Sunday, threatening to replace striking staff and use troops to run oil operations

December 11th
EFE (Spanish news agency)
"The dispatch of crude to the world, especially to the United States has resumed," Energy and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez announced during a news conference at Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas. "We already broke the blockade they forced on us in the east and in the west and we're now dispatching crude to the world," the minister reiterated.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
"This violent strike is being defeated," Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said. "We are breaking the blockade and are exporting oil to the whole world."

December 12th
El Nacional
Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez assured that the government has "long ago managed to stop the planned sabotage, which has been planned for violence and a coup."

Venezuela's embattled President Hugo Chavez has declared that oil production and distribution are restarting as a general strike prepared to go into its 11th day. "The most important thing is we are getting out of this crisis," he said. "The situation is progressively impoving. The supply of petrol is flowing."

December 14th
BBC Monitoring
PDVSA president Ali Rodriguez stressed that "we are taking all necessary steps to resume production". When asked about Venezuela's foreign customers, Ali Rodriguez Araque said: "We are in a situation of force majeure", and added, "we are already restoring production and we are already able to meet commitments."

December 16th
El Nacional
Ali Rodriguez said that "difficulties are being overcome", that production has recouperated, and that soon Venezuela will be able to meet its trade obligations.

December 18th
BBC Monitoring
In statements to a radio and television station, Ali Rodriguez Araque, the president of PDVSA said that as from midnight on 17 December, he is taking the necessary measures to regain control of the company and to guarantee the supply of fuel for the country.

December 21st
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
State oil company president Ali Rodrmguez insists the government is working to guarantee gasoline supplies for "many days."

December 23rd
"Now we are in the process of returning to normal."
Energy and Mines Minister Rafael Ramírez.

December 25th
Dow Jones Business News
PDVSA president Alí Rodríguez said he expects export operations should be back to normal by Jan. 15. "We've had difficulties, but we are overcoming them," he said.

December 28th
Union Radio
"The situation is excessively normal."
Vicepresident J.V. Rangel

"We are over the most critical situation and, today, things are frankly improving."
Hugo Chávez.