Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez yesterday seized control of a French-run oil field, strengthening his control of the country's vast oil wealth, the lifeblood of his "Bolivarian Revolution".
Mr Chavez has decided to redefine the terms under which foreign companies can operate in Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves outside of the Middle East.
The new terms state that the Venezuelan government must have a 60 per cent share in any venture. [In brief, some major companies have knuckled under, Exxon-Mobil has sold its interests, and some others have refused to comply, which has led to the Venezuelan government's seizure of Total SA's operations.]
Mr Chavez is using his oil windfall to promote a social reform programme, arms purchases and to engage in anti-US diplomacy, selling oil at below market rates to detach Latin American nations from Washington's orbit.
"His oil windfall"? Is it actually a windfall when you shake the holy hell out of the tree?
Good luck to Mr. Chavez in seeking foreign investors for his "social reform programme."