VIO News Blog

July 16, 2008

Venezuela Extends Energy Assistance Programs in U.S. and Latin America

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 9:40 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After donating $100 million in cut-rate home heating oil across the U.S. last year, the Venezuelan-owned gas company Citgo is now distributing energy-efficient lightbulbs. Nearly a half a million bulbs will be placed in low- and middle-income homes in 11 different U.S. cities to help save money and the environment.

President Chavez and President Correa of Ecuador agreed yesterday to create a joint oil refinery that would be the largest on South America’s Pacific coast. According to AFP, the Venezuelan leader said he aims to provide “energy security for all the people in the continent.” AP reports that the refinery will cost $5-10 billion and produce 300,000 barrels of oil per day. In related news, Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program, which sells oil to Caribbean nations at preferential rates, continues to expand in Central America. Also according to AP, that Costa Rica was invited to join the energy assistance program at last week’s summit — Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala are now members.

In other energy news, AP reports that Venezuela is pursuing long-term investments in Bolivia’s oil and natural gas industries. To double oil and gas output within five years, Venezuela could spend $883 million. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic is courting investment from Venezuela in its own oil refinery, which is the only one in the Caribbean. According to Bloomberg, Chavez discussed this possibility with the Dominican president.

Competing opinion pieces on Venezuela-U.S. relations appear in the Los Angeles Times today. Diplomat Angelo Rivero Santos gives an insider view of why Venezuela and the U.S. are at odds today, explaining that problems stemmed from the U.S.-backed coup against Chavez, the neoconservative bent of Bush’s foreign policy, and the demonstrate failure of U.S.-style neoliberalism. Meanwhile, another writer opines that the coup “did not help matters,” but attempts to discredit Venezuela’s foreign policy of non-intervention, socialist economic model, and regional integration efforts. These are dismissed despite the tremendous influence they have across Latin America.

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