VIO News Blog

November 13, 2008

President of Venezuelan Electoral Council Welcomes Foreign Observers to Regional Elections

Venezuela’s regional elections on November 23rd will be monitored by 130 foreign observers from groups such as the OAS, according to the Caracas newspaper El Universal. Observer missions have been invited from 34 different countries. El Universal also reports that Spain’s Secretary of State for Latin America recently said that “the election campaign is going normally.” Tibisay Lucena, President of the National Electoral Council (pictured at right), said that the observation missions will be accompanied by a program “to learn about the Venezuelan electoral system” that has inspired “confidence, curiosity and admiration” in foreign visitors.

The economy of Venezuela is in the news today, after comments made by President Chavez yesterday. Bloomberg and Reuters report that Chavez said: “The price of oil has been falling as a product of the global crisis… That’s the factor, that if it continues to extend itself for a period of time, could affect us, of course it would affect us.”

As an oil-exporting country for about a century, Venezuela is familiar with the volatility of crude prices and has become more adept at managing the highs and lows. The recently released 2009 budget is based on the conservative estimate of oil prices of $60 per barrel. Oxford Analytica explains this and many other factors that suggest Venezuela will not likely suffer an economic collapse due to the global financial crisis. It states: “Venezuela is likely to be able to continue its high public and social spending in 2009.” The country’s economy is bolstered by $40 billion in foreign currency reserves and tens of billions in development funds.

Finally, the price of oil remains in the news. The AP reports that the International Energy Association estimates that oil prices will average $80 per barrel in 2009. OPEC countries may meet later this month in Cairo to evaluate current rates of production, according to Bloomberg.

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