Being rich is bad, it’s inhuman," Venezuela’s former president Hugo Chávez once said. He offered this wisdom on his television programme, Hello President, in 2005. The same year he began expropriating agricultural and untitled land without compensating the — probably — rich owners for it. One could say he was stripping them of their "inhumanity". The following year, Chávez proffered this nugget: "Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ — who I think was the first socialist — only socialism can really create a genuine society." Then in 2007 the president forcibly took ownership of ConocoPhillips’s oil rigs in the Orinoco Belt and placed them under the national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). ConocoPhillips left the country, along with ExxonMobil. At that point, Venezuela had been producing about 3-million barrels of oil a day, according to Opec. In its 2007 annual report, Opec said Venezue...

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