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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 that Venezuela hopes to gradually sell off its refineries in the United States and build a new network of refineries in Latin America as part of a plan to offer his 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 talks. Chavez said the money acquired would be put in a fund to provide credit for ALBA nations.
Concluding their meeting, Chavez and other leaders signed accords for Venezuela to supply fuel under preferential terms and join up with other countries for cooperative projects in areas such as education, telecommunications and mining.
Chavez said Venezuela will guarantee to supply 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.
Venezuela's 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, he said.
"We could even create an ALBA oil company," he said. "ALBA-Petroleo, Petro-ALBA .... to take out that oil."
Chavez said Venezuela eventually plans to help build a network of refineries in Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia and Dominica, as well as refurbishing Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery, to provide a stable supply of oil _ and the earnings it generates _ to countries in Latin America.
He 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.
Under the special terms offered by Venezuela, ALBA member nations will be able to finance 50 percent of the bill for fuel under low-interest loans, and that 25 percent of the total bill will go into a special "ALBA Fund" to support local projects through loans, he said.
Leaders at the summit also discussed 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.
The attending the summit were Haitian President Rene Preval, 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.


Updated : 2021-03-04 05:10 GMT+08:00