Apparently relishing in their ability to spring a surprise on the international oil sector, the Venezuelans erected a monumental stand, and the delegation attached to the

state-owned oil company numbered a whopping 120.

The sleek lines of a racing car, and sleeker lines of the fastest woman in the world, Le Mans champion Milka Duno, were an even more powerful attention-grabber.

The Chavez administration has taken a similar line on past occasions, merrily bashing the international oil companies for the benefit of the domestic audience while simultaneously engaging in a charm offensive in the very heart of the imperialist empire.