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Chavez pledges oil, financing to allies in Latin America

Chavez pledges oil, financing to allies in Latin America

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela hopes to gradually sell off its refineries in the United States and build a new network of refineries in Latin America, part of a plan to offer his leftist allies in the region a stable oil supply.
Chavez also raised the idea of issuing a regional bond to raise funds for social spending as he hosted a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA a leftist bloc and trade group that includes Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
"I proposed that we issue an ALBA bond. I hope that we can do it.... And that we issue it here in Venezuela, like we did with Argentina, and bring in US$1 billion (euro730 million)," said Chavez, addressing leaders Sunday on final day of their meeting.
Chavez said the money acquired through the bond would be put in a fund to provide credit for ALBA nations.
Chavez repeated a proposal to guarantee the supply of 100 percent of the energy needs for ALBA members as well as Haiti. ALBA was created in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela as a counterproposal to U.S. backed free-trade plans.
The Venezuelan leader also said his government has set aside an area for ALBA countries to help explore for and exploit heavy oil in the Orinoco River basin, where on Tuesday the state is to assume majority control of oil projects from transnational companies.
"We could even create an ALBA oil company," he said. "ALBA-Petroleo, Petro-ALBA .... to take out that oil."
Among long-term plans, Chavez proposed to build a petrochemical complex and natural gas plant in Haiti, and to build a gas pipeline from Venezuela to the Caribbean. "It is not a crazy idea, they are shallow waters," he said.
Haitian President Rene Preval joined leaders including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage. Other officials attended from Uruguay, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Chavez said Venezuela plans to help build refineries in Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia and Dominica, as well as refurbishing Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery.
Chavez noted that Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. has seven refineries in the U.S. "The United States knows that part of our plans is to sell those refineries there," he said.
"We offer to Latin America ... as we get out of those refineries _ and even without getting out of them _ to build new refineries or expand them in the case of Cuba, send our oil there to be refined instead of to the United States," Chavez said.
Among a list of trade and cooperation plans, the leaders expressed support for creating an "economic cooperation and investment fund."
"Venezuela could make an initial contribution of US$250 million (euro183 million) to get it started .... and each country could contribute what it was able to," Chavez said.


Updated : 2021-05-07 23:47 GMT+08:00