Venezuela arrested two Chevron employees in Caracas Monday on trumped up charges of corruption.
On the surface, the act looks just plain insane: Venezuela's oil industry has cratered into a heap of rubble. Production of oil has fallen to 1949 levels, and five-digit inflation is destroying the value of the currency. Those two events are related: some 25,000 highly skilled state oil company employees have walked away from their jobs, unable to stand working for worthless currency that won't even buy them a cup of coffee.
Oil is responsible for 90% of Venezuela's export earnings and pretty well finances the Chavista government. The only hope this disastrous oil-collapsed country has left for any reprieve is in its foreign investors, such as Chevron. Even the Chinese and the Russians, who had been Venezuela's great white sugar-daddy hope, aren't touching them. There's just Chevron and a few other companies, hedging their bets that the Chavistas won't last by their willingness to wait them out.
And now Venezuela is arresting them.
Suicide? Naaah. Last year, the Chavistas, in a good imitation of what their Iranian and Cuban allies do, took a U.S. hostage. He was a Mormon kid from Utah who fell in love with a Venezuelan woman and foolishly agreed to visit her in that country. For his trouble, he got arrested and thrown into in a Chavista dungeon, where he remains to this day, a sad hostage to the dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro. The motive for the senseless arrest was to use the kid as a bargaining chip for the two nephews of his wife, who were busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Haiti for big-league drug-trafficking while actually living in the palace household.