Venzuela: politics vs. policy

Regarding my note Jan. 8 (see below), Emelio Betances of the University of Gettysburg writes:

"Your ideas certainly make sense, but they need to be developed more deeply. I am sure you know about Steve Ellner and Daniel Hellinger's edited book that just came out: Venezuelan Politics in the Chavez Era. Class, Polarization and Conflict (Lynne Rienner, 2003) where some of these ideas are expanded on. What I like about your idea is that you tried to provide a explanation which is above the simplistic version that both the Venezuelan and U.S. press feed us. What do you think of Chavez current efforts to restructure the oil industry into two sectors? Is this an effort to resolve the immediate political problem or is it a well thought-out plan to consolidate government control of the vital oil industry and prevent privatization?"

I don't know, Emelio, but my guess is both--although "well thought-out" might be an exaggeration. In times like these, politics take command.