PDVSA

Ronald Zak / AP via Miami Herald

Oil is Venezuela’s only real economic asset, accounting for more than 95 percent of its export revenues. But its oil industry has been wrecked by neglect and corruption. The government is now purging that industry’s leadership. But it’s probably too late.

They say oil is as much a curse to Venezuela as it is a blessing. The South American country has the world’s largest oil reserves. But its oil wealth has long been looted by corrupt ruling elites. Or, in this century, by a corrupt socialist revolution.

Fernando Llano / AP

A Broward County businessman is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty Wednesday in Houston for bribing officials at Venezuela’s state oil company.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston says Weston resident Juan José Hernández Comerma conspired with his business partner, Abraham José Shiera Bastidas, to bribe executives at the Venezuelan oil giant Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. – or PDVSA.

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When it comes to Latin American oil, South Florida’s attention seems exclusively fixed on South America. We focus on petro-titans like Venezuela and Brazil because we do so much trade with and receive so many immigrants from that region. But this week it was hard not to look west – across the Gulf of Mexico, at one of the most important oil reforms in almost a century.

Late Wednesday night, Mexico’s Congress approved President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to allow private and foreign participation in the country’s state-run oil industry for the first time in 75 years.