President Chavez Announces “Petrochemical Revolution”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the launch of a "Petrochemical Revolution" for Venezuela yesterday, emphasizing that it is vital for the diversification of the economy and for national development.

Mérida, July 5, 2007 (— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the launch of a "Petrochemical Revolution" for Venezuela yesterday, emphasizing that it is vital for the diversification of the economy and for national development. Focusing on developing industry to work with oil derivatives, the Chavez government announced plans to build several large petrochemical plants and to expand other existing plants to supply national industry with raw materials.

Returning from his recent trip to Russia, Belarus and Iran, President Chavez held a press conference in the presidential palace yesterday to discuss the results of his visits to these countries and to announce future plans for economic development. Chavez invited private business to get involved in the government’s economic program offering them financial backing and requesting that they form part of a delegation to elaborate projects for the development of the national economy and, above all, to increase national exports.

"We are going to be a power in this continent and in the world," said Chavez after detailing plans to develop national industry. "In petroleum, in gas, in petrochemicals, in industry, there is no doubt," he assured.

Chavez detailed plans for a new stage in the development of petrochemical industry with the intention of creating national industry to produce products from oil derivatives. Plans include the expansion and improvement of existing plants in Zulia, Carabobo and, Anzoátegui and the construction of two new petrochemical plants, one on the Paria Peninsula in Sucre and the other on the Paraguaná peninsula in Falcon.

Chavez explained how the Iranians had purposely built factories in poorer or economically inactive parts of the country to stimulate them and help those areas progress. With the "Petrochemical Revolution" the Chavez government has the same thing in mind. Chavez explained yesterday that the plan would originate in the north with the large petrochemical plants along the coast, and would later supply future industry in different parts of the interior. The large petrochemical plants in Paraguaná and Sucre, which will be fed by the already existing refineries there, will then "rain" raw materials into the center of the country, explained Chavez pointing to a map.

"Let it rain over the county, through gas and oil pipelines and intermediate, medium and large plants, a whole industrial revolution, the Petrochemical Revolution," he said.

Chavez considered the possibility of building several projects in the nearby regions around the Sucre and Anzoátegui petrochemical plants to provide development and employment to those regions. Likewise, the future plants in Paraguaná, Zulia, and Carabobo could supply new industries in the center and western parts of the country.

Also discussed was the greater use of the massive Orinoco River that runs through the center of the country to promote development in areas such as Apure and Puerto Ayacucho where sources of employment are extremely limited. Chavez criticized the concept of Ciudad Guayana, one of Venezuela’s industrial centers, where all of the development and industry is centered in one city. One of the central concepts of the "Petrochemical Revolution" will be to spread out the industrial development to different parts of the country.

After summarizing the new economic agreements with Russia, Belarus, and Iran, and detailing plans to construct joint companies to manufacture a number of products including bicycles, heavy machinery, construction tools, and plastics, Chavez invited the private sector to strengthen investment in these projects and encouraged them to incorporate themselves in the construction of the new economy and to participate in strategic alliances with the governments of Iran, Russia, Belarus, Argentina, and others.

"I want to motivate Venezuelan entrepreneurs, you have a place in socialism, and we need you," stated Chavez. "Make a socialist committee and elect a group for every event that we are going to do, with Russia, with Iran, with Belarus, with Brazil, Argentina, with the whole world," he explained.

Chavez emphasized that private enterprise can play a role in Venezuelan socialism, but he rejected any private enterprise that works against the country, that doesn’t recognize his government or that violates the laws. He urged the private sector to close ranks on sectors that keep trying to "deceive" the population about the political, economic, and social reality of the country.

"I am sure that regardless of any more campaigns, conspiracies or attacks that they do against us, we will continue advancing towards a new integration of the people, and of the economies," he concluded.