Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the United Nations yesterday. Chavez has asked the UN and neighboring countries to help mediate the standoff between the government and opposition forces.
In recent weeks, a business lockout and work stoppage led by right-wing groups aiming to bring down the government has devastated the petroleum industry.
In a press conference after the meeting, President Chavez was asked how much oil the country is currently exporting every day.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking at a press conference outside the United Nations in New York, 1/16/03.
Democracy Now! producer Alex Wolfe later asked Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez whether foreign high-technology firms such as the major US defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation, had cooperated with the Venezuelan government. SAIC supplied much of the technology and computer systems that regulate the refineries and pipelines in Venezuela, as well as navigational and global positioning systems for the oil tankers. This was his response.
- Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy Minister.