VIO News Blog

July 28, 2008

PetroCaribe Most Influential in Region

Over the weekend the Washington Post reported on the success of a private sugar cane plantation and rum distillery in Venezuela that has successfully created programs to help the poor alongside the government. Housing, education, and even gang prevention programs are just some of the initiatives that have impacted the local community over the years. In other domestic news, Reuters reports on statements made by President Chavez who appeared dismayed yesterday at recent attempts by allies to propose alternatives to the mayoral and gubernatorial candidates chosen by the PSUV (the party created last year to consolidate the progressive coalition in support of Chavez). The President stated that they are “risking division”. The Venezuelan polling firm Datanalisis said the infighting “could complicate the situation for Chavez,” but noted that the opposition is also struggling to unite behind their candidates, according to Reuters.

PetroCaribe Summit

PetroCaribe Summit

In the Caribbean, PetroCaribe appears to be playing a positive economic role, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. From oil to the building of infrastructure, Venezuela is becoming more and more of a stabilizing factor as high oil prices continue to disproportionatly affect the poorest countries. New regional initiatives related to food security, fertiliser and financing are also in the works for the 18 Central American and Caribbean member countries. In other news, Spain will receive 10,000 barrels of oil per day at $100 a barrel in exchange for medicine and other products, according to a Spanish government source. The agreement was reached on Friday while Chavez was visiting the country. During his visit, he met with the King of Spain and the Spanish Prime Minister.

Finally, the Latin Business Chronicle writes about the growing relationship between Venezuela and Russia. It mistakenly views the two countries foreign policy agendas through the lens of the Cold War rather than today’s political and economic realities. Alleging that space for dissent and participation have decreased under Chavez, that state control is growing, and that Venezuela will use energy as a weapon against the United States, the Chronicle’s accusations don’t stand up to the litmus test. More than 75% of the voting public cast their ballots in the most recent Venezuelan election that produced an unfavorable outcome for the Chavez government. However, the vote was respected and upheld. As to the claim that Venezuela could use its energy resources against the US, this would signal a departure from current policy under the Chavez Administration that helped to stabilize the US economy after Hurricane Katrina and continues to provide a steady flow of discounted heating oil and fuel to the American consumer.

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