If it weren't for us gringos, Chavez would be broke
Oil production in Venezueala has falled by 25% since Chavez was first elected, from 3.2 million barrels per day down to 2.4 million, meaning that Venezeula has to a large extent missed out a lot from the recent oil boom. Not only that but,
"About half of this oil is now delivered at a discount to Mr Chavez's friends around Latin America. The 18 nations in his "Petrocaribe" club, founded in 2005, pay Venezuela only 30 per cent of the market price within 90 days, with rest in instalments spread over 25 years."
It turns out that we are his only retail paying customers,
"The other half - 1.2 million barrels per day - goes to America, Venezuela's only genuinely paying customer."
One reason why oil production is down is that Chavez has made the national oil company a footsoldier in his Bolivarian revolution,
"Meanwhile, Mr Chavez has given PDVSA countless new tasks. "The new PDVSA is central to the social battle for the advance of our country," said Rafael Ramirez, the company's president and the minister for petroleum. "We have worked to convert PDVSA into a key element for the social battle."
The company now grows food after Mr Chavez's price controls emptied supermarket shelves of products like milk and eggs. Another branch produces furniture and domestic appliances in an effort to stem the flow of imports. What PDVSA seems unable to do is produce more oil."
The article makes a guess that
"now that prices are falling, Mr Chavez faces huge financial problems. Nobody is sure at what point his government would be unable to pay its bills, but most sources consulted believe this would probably happen if oil falls to $80 a barrel."
FWIW, oil is around $75 a barrel this afternoon.