By James Petras
“You can’t exclude any hypothesis … It’s practically impossible that here in an [oil] installation like this which is fully automated everywhere and that has thousands of responsible workers night and day, civilian and military, and that there is a gas leak for 3 or 4 days and nobody responds. This is impossible.” — President Chavez responding to US media and opposition charges that the explosion and fire at the oil refinery was due to government negligence.
Only 43 days before the Venezuelan presidential election and with President Chavez leading by a persistent margin of 20 percentage points, an explosion and fire at the Amuay refinery killed at least 48 people – half of those were members of the National Guard and destroyed oil facilities producing 645,000 barrels of oil per day. Continue reading