Venezuela's capabilities in energy are far beyond any other country in the hemisphere and rivals those of any country in the world. However, Venezuela and PDVSA also realize that the benefits associated with the natural resources of the developing world can no longer flow in only one direction. We are committed to putting our oil revenues to work for all of our people. We are realistically, and systematically, tackling the problems of our country and other Latin American countries, in which economic inequalities have long been the dominant and heartbreaking aspect of society. PDVSA is directly spending billions of dollars to fund sorely needed education, medical and poverty-reduction programs throughout Venezuela and Latin America.

Beyond our borders, as part of the effort to eliminate the devastating impact of the asymmetries of energy consumption in our hemisphere, Venezuela has been a leader in creating a program for Caribbean nations, among the poorest in the world, known as Petrocaribe. Through this program, Venezuela is providing these countries affordable oil at market prices through the use of generous financing terms and helping these countries to upgrade their energy supply and distribution infrastructures.

Venezuela is also fostering greater integration among all Latin American countries to meet the energy needs of the region. Low-cost oil supplies are being provided to the continent through programs such as Petroandina and Petrosur. In addition, plans have been initiated to construct a 6,200-mile natural gas pipeline from Venezuela all the way to Argentina and to integrate already existing pipelines throughout South America to make the region more self-reliant and environmentally friendly and to permit our countries to work more closely together.

The United States can continue to look only inward in a self-defeating effort to achieve a chimerical "energy security." Or, it can rethink its foreign policy with respect to Latin America. It is a fool's errand for the United States to try to gain "energy independence" for itself. Simply put, it is impossible. Energy independence within the hemisphere can be achieved, however...

By Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States

Houston Chronicle

June 16, 2007

Excerpt from report:

(click here to view entire report)

Originally from Latin America News Review on July 18, 2007, 9:16am


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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