VIO News Blog

August 25, 2008

Venezuela Invests in Petrochemicals, Sports Programs

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 10:55 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Venezuela has invested almost $1 billion in its petrochemicals sector to boost the production of oil derivatives and become more competitive with other countries such as Brazil. AFP reports that President Chavez explained the new investment, which comes as part of a plan initiated last year, as a means of limiting Venezuela’s dependence on imports. In other economic news, the Mexican cement company Cemex was nationalized last week after refusing to negotiate with the Venezuelan government. However, the AP reports that President Chavez said Saturday that he is still open to talks with the company and that “We want to settle this in a friendly way.”

In international news, Venezuela has been criticized again by U.S. drug officials, who accuse the country of doing to little to stop cocaine smuggling. Situated between the world’s largest cocaine producer, Colombia, an its largest importer, the U.S., Venezuela has consistently battled the flow of drugs. After a Panamanian tanker was seized leaving Venezuela with 4.6 tons of cocaine last Friday, the White House drug czar wrongly told the press that the Venezuelan government has “no willingness” to cooperate with the U.S. In fact, President Chavez has told the U.S. Ambassador on several occasions that he wishes for better relations, and particularly to work together on counter-drug operations. Foreign Relations Minister Maduro also said earlier this month that Venezuela seeks to improve anti-drug cooperation throughout the hemisphere.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. fears worsening relations with Russia, and wrongly counts Venezuela among a list of “anti-American” countries. Venezuela has a long history of good relations with the U.S., and has sought to sustain ties despite threats. Meanwhile, the AP reports that President Chavez said he would accept a Russian fleet in Venezuela if that country chooses to station itself in the region.

Finally, Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA has announced that it will begin a new social program dedicated to training athletes. Venezuela sent over 100 competitors to the Beijing Olympics, according to the AP, but came away with just one bronze medal.

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