***** This is a letter that I am sending to the Embassy of The Netherlands in Washington DC. I think is important that they are aware of how negatively the announced visit of the Royal couple of the country to Venezuela will be received by millions of Venezuelan citizens. This visit will validate a government of uncertain legitimacy of origin and total illegitimacy of performance.
***** Esta carta que estoy enviando a la Embajada de Holanda en Washington DC pretende transmitirles el desconcierto que millones de ciudadanos venezolanos sienten sobre la anunciada visita de los reyes de ese país a Venezuela. De llevarse a cabo validará a un gobierno de dudosa legitimidad de origen y de una clara ilegitimidad de comportamiento.
The letter/La carta
Deputy Chief of Mission
The Netherlands Embassy
Dear Mr. Mollema:
My name is Gustavo Coronel (please see my C.V. below). I apologize in advance for this unorthodox approach but, as a Venezuelan born citizen living in Virginia I found this the best manner to contact you on the matter of the announced official visit of the King and Queen of The Netherlands to Venezuela, next November 23th. They will be accompanied, according to the Venezuelan press (El Nacional, October 19, 2013) by the Foreign Minister, Mr. Frans Timmermans and by the First Ministers of Aruba, Curacao and St. Martin. I am not a diplomat or a Foreign Relations expert, just a former petroleum geologist who loves both my country and yours, where I once spent a very happy year in beautiful The Hague. As a former employee of Royal Dutch Shell and, later, as a member of the Board of Petróleos de Venezuela, I have kept a friendly interest in your wonderful country.
This is the reason I write to you on the matter of this visit which I find inexplicable, at least from the perspective of a Venezuelan who is trying to bring democracy and progress back to the country. For the last 15 years Venezuela has been under an autocratic, inept political regime that has brought us social, economic and, specially, spiritual ruin. The current president of the country is perceived as illegitimate by a considerable segment of the population and his grip on power is, at best, precarious. Corruption and disarray are the two main characteristics of his government.
I realize that there might be other readings of the Venezuelan current situation but, if what I say has reasonable possibilities of being real, the announced visit looks clearly inopportune and with a highly unfavorable cost-benefit ratio to your country.
External observers, of course, cannot know how indispensable this visit would be, in the context of Dutch national interest. We can only hope that the decision will be reconsidered, in light of the highly volatile and rarified political environment existing in my country.
Iam at your service to provide background information on Venezuela in person, if you should find this desirable.
GUSTAVO R. CORONEL
· Founding member of the Board of Directors of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) 1976-1979.
· An international, 32-year petroleum industry career in Venezuela (1955-1987), Holland, Algiers, Indonesia, most of Latin America and the United States with Royal Dutch- Shell, Phillips Petroleum and Petroleos de Venezuela and as Head of the Hydrocarbons Projects Division, Inter-American Development Bank, 1983-1987.
· International Energy Consultant with Arthur D. Little, 1988-1993.
· Chief Operations Officer and, later, acting CEO of the Corporacion
Venezolana de Guayana, a $35 billion Venezuelan government
· President, Port of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, 2001-2002
· Director, Corporate Programs for Latin America, “Foreign Policy”
Magazine, 2004-2006, Washington DC
- Independent Consultant, Geopolitics of Energy and Latin American Public Policy, 2006-
- Director, xxxxx Oil and Gas Corporation, Houston, Texas, 2011-2012
Areas of Interest
- Strategies to combat Government Corruption
- Geopolitics of Energy
- Latin American Public Policy
- U.S.- Latin American relations
- Founder and president, 1994-2000, of Pro Calidad de Vida, an NGO organization promoting anti-corruption techniques in government and civic education for children in Venezuela, Panama, Paraguay, Mexico and Nicaragua
- Venezuelan representative of Transparency International, 1995 – 2000
- Volunteer at INOVA Hospital, Fairfax, Virginia, 2010 -
- Geologist, University of Tulsa, 1955.
- Geologist, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, 1961.
- Fellow, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1981-1983.
- Master in International Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
- University of Tulsa Hall of Fame of Engineering, 1981
- University of Tulsa Distinguished Alumnus, 1983
- University of Tulsa Trustee, 1987-1990.
· Universidad Central de Venezuela, Pro-Bono Professor at the Post Graduate School of Economics: Petroleum Exploration and Production, 1982-1984.
· George Washington University/Catholic University of Guayaquil, Joint MBA Program on Governance: Seminar in Strategic Planning, 2007.
· George Washington University. Case Studies and Role Play, MBA seminars for School of Governance, 2010, 2012
- “Can PDVSA recover?”, Journal of Energy Security, August 2012
- “El Petróleo viene de La Luna”, novel, 2010
- "Petro States and Narco States: the case of Venezuela". CEDICE, Caracas, Venezuela, November 2009;
- “Corruption, Mismanagement and Abuse of Power in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela”, CATO Institute, November 2006;
- “Curbing Corruption in Venezuela”, Journal of Democracy July 1996;
- “Una Perspectiva Gerencial de la Corporación Venezolana de Guayana”, book, Editorial Melvin, Caracas 1995;
- “Venezuela: La Agonía del Subdesarrollo”, book, Editorial Melvin, Caracas 1990;
- “The Nationalization of the Venezuelan Oil Industry”, book, Lexington Books, MA, 1983 and 1984.
Selected Public Activities
Guest Speaker for the Road Scholar program, 2013.
ACFR, American Committee of Foreign Relations. Guest Speaker in 18 chapters of this organization, 2007- 2012.
Speaker at 2007-2013 events at the Heritage Foundation, World Council, Hudson Institute, CATO Institute, American Enterprise Institute, George Washington University, Amherst College, Kennesaw University, Canning House, Jesus College, Univ. of Cambridge, Henry Jackson Society, English Parliament
Presentation to U.S. Congress staff members on the Iran-Venezuela link and Venezuelan sponsored terrorism, 2010.
CATO Institute sponsored speaking trips on “Populism and Democracy in Latin America” to: Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia, 2007 – 2008
Energy commentator for CNN, en español, at the program “Globoeconomía”, 2007 - 2011
Guest in Lou Dobbs program, Venezuelan presidential elections, 2008
Interviews in Al Jazeera TV News programs, Washington DC and The Voice of America, on Latin American topics, 2011, 2012
Op-Eds on Latin American social, energy and political issues in newspapers such as The Miami Herald, The Latin American Herald Tribune, Human Events, American Thinker, NewsMax, El Nacional, Washington DC; La Nación, Buenos Aires; La Nación, Costa Rica; El Comercio, Quito, El Carabobeño,Venezuela and in Venezuelan websites www.petroleumworld.com , www.noticierodigital.com, www.analitica.com and www.lapatilla.com .