OIL: Venezuela's Own

Jet fighters streaked in formation across the sky; a band struck up the national anthem; and Venezuela's President Carlos Andrés Pérez hoisted a red, yellow and blue tricolor over Venezuela's first commercial oil well on New Year's Day. Then cannon boomed their salute to the flag, whose position atop the well symbolized one of the most gentlemanly nationalizations in history.

The ceremony marked the takeover by a new state-owned holding company, Petroleós de Venezuela (Petrovén) of the nation's oil industry, which in 1974 accounted for 50% of Venezuela's gross national product, 86% of its revenues and 97% of its exports....

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