September 2007

Oil and gas in the capitals

A smuggled suitcase stuffed with cash is pouring cold water on the romance between the leftist governments of Argentina and Venezuela. Argentina has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Venezuelan businessman who entered the country on Aug. 4 with almost $800,000 in undeclared $50 bills in his suitcase on a plane chartered by the state-owned oil company, Energia Argentina SA, or Enarsa. The businessman, Guido Antonini Wilson, was flying with four executives of Venezuela’s Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and three Argentine public officials. After questioning, Wilson reportedly left the suitcase with customs officials and departed the country unmolested. Statements by the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have ranged from simple denial of any connection between Wilson and PDVSA to blaming the incident on a CIA plot to damage Chavez’s credibility. Chavez has ignored Argentina’s demands for an apology . . .

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