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Dependence on Russian oil and gas causes Bulgaria a host of problems. However, a plethora of oil can be a curse too, as it encourages government theft and irresponsibility. Venezuela’s current agony is a tragic case in point. Venezuela is a natural paradise, with mountains and coastal breezes tempering the tropical heat. Spanning 916,000 square kilometers it is bigger than Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and the former Yugoslavia combined. Fifty years ago it was barely more populous than Bulgaria but now has 31 million people, of which 5 million live in the capital Caracas. After Castro took Cuba downhill it became the richest country in Latin America, thanks largely to its tremendous reserves of oil. In 2000, by IMF estimates, Venezuela’s GDP per capita was about 30% higher