Dr. Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, father of OPEC, and Alí Rodríguez Araque
"... if you have something that is worth a lot ... do not give it away for free to another ..."
Oil America, Inc.
According to statistics from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), 81% of world oil reserves are located in the basement of its 12 member countries, being Venezuela the country with the biggest proven reservoirs with 20.14% of the worldwide total and Saudi Arabia following it closely with 17.98%.
Venezuela - a founding member of OPEC - currently has in its basement nearly 300-billion barrels of proven oil reserves, of a global total of 1,478 billion barrels posted by the very same source.
The Bolivarian Republic is a longstanding producer. Since 1917, its hydrocarbons were intensively exploited commercially, becoming in 1928 the first oil exporter and the second largest producer, ranking held until 1960.
During this period (1917 -1960) more than 18 billion barrels of oil were extracted from Venezuela, an amount that represented then 53% of total proven oil resources throughout their territory and equivalent to the current oil reserves of a country like Brazil, the second in Latin America concerning proven reserves.
With such high oil production Venezuela played a leading role on the world stage: secured the supply of 5billion barrels of oil to the Western powers between 1936 and 1950, which were vital to beat Germany’s Hitler in World War II and then ensure the reconstruction of destroyed postwar Europe.
During that period of fifteen years, the price of oil supplied by Venezuela averaged about $ 1.48, 70 times less than current prices.
These large quantities of light oil of good quality to produce gasoline and diesel, supplied reliably and at a very low price, allowed and propelled the economic expansion of the Western Countries during the critical decades of the 50s and 60s.
Venezuela and the creation of OPEC
During the democratic government of the writer Rómulo Gallego (1947-1948), the then minister in charge of hydrocarbons, Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo, established the basis for the policy of "No more oil concessions" and the legislative reform known worldwide as the fifty -fifty (50-50), determined for the first time an equitable distribution of the yields of the oil production between the national treasury and foreign concessionary companies.
At the fall of Gallegos, with the coup and installation of a military government led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Pérez Alfonzo paid dearly for daring to seek higher oil revenues for Venezuela and spent seven months in jail and was later expelled from the country until the fall of the dictatorship in 1958.
Upon assuming the Presidency of the Republic Rómulo Betancourt, after the 1959 elections, he appointed Pérez Alfonzo Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. From there on, the apostle of the defense of natural resources and the environment, made a pilgrimage to the major producing countries, and promoted the creation of OPEC, the organization of which he is considered the founder.
With OPEC, created in 1960, a new period began. In 1974, Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo, already retired from the political struggle and OPEC, commented: "The sense of justice demands that if you have something that is worth a lot ... do not give it away for free to another, but rather work out its fair price . Then, the problem of using well or poorly received this money is another thing. So if I were put back again into the circumstance of having to return to work for the creation of OPEC, I would try its creation again."
At the end of 2013, the then Secretary General of UNASUR, former Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela and former Secretary General of OPEC, Ali Rodriguez Araque declared: "[OPEC] is an intergovernmental organization for the better defense of sovereign rights of our countries, especially oil, and you can say that it is the only organization of so-called third world countries that has been successful more than 52 years, with a particularity: it is difficult to find an organization of this nature that is formed of so diverse regimes."
So Venezuela has historically sought to defend its oil wealth, sometimes with great success and sometimes with relative success, but always setting guidelines. Now the Bolivarian country sets precedents in the social investment of the yields of oil production.
In the past 15 years, according to the National Statistics Institute, the social investment in Venezuela rose from 36% to 62% of GDP, totaling U.S. $ 772-billion in the period. These figures are historical for a developing country and its proportions emulate, despite of distances, social investments in post-war Europe.
President Nicolas Maduro has now proclaimed to conduct a Government of street and a fight against corruption and inefficiency "heads will roll whoever it will be" - words I have never heard from any president, including President Chavez - if true, even if it was to a greater percentage, the homeland of Bolivar would open gaps to the progress of the Patria Grande and countries of the world.