Alexa

Chavez pledges oil, financing to allies in Latin America

Chavez pledges oil, financing to allies in Latin America

President Hugo Chavez said 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 his plan to offer 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.
Chavez and other leaders signed accords for Venezuela to supply fuel under preferential terms and join up with other countries for cooperative projects in education, telecommunications, mining, and other areas.
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.
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. and said that "part of our plans is to sell those refineries."
Under special oil deals offered by Venezuela, ALBA member nations would be able to finance 50 percent of the bill for fuel under low-interest loans, and 25 percent of the total bill would go into a special "ALBA Fund" to support local projects through loans, he said.
Leaders also discussed creating an "economic cooperation and investment fund," and Chavez offered an initial contribution of US$250 million (euro183 million).
Among long-term plans, Chavez proposed to build a petrochemical complex and natural gas plant in Haiti.
Leaders attending included Haitian President Rene Preval, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage, plus officials from Uruguay, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Morales, whose country nationalized its natural gas industry last year, raised bitter complaints about the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank body that mediates disputes between governments and foreign investors.
"Governments in Latin America and I think all over the world never win the cases. The transnationals always win," Morales said.
Chavez backed Morales' stance, saying he had never heard of ICSID but that Latin American countries could create their own arbitration body for disputes with big companies.
"We're better off without the (International Monetary) Fund and without the World Bank," Chavez said. "Only together will we be able to achieve it."


Updated : 2021-04-14 01:40 GMT+08:00