June 15th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – At the 6th Petrocaribe
summit last Friday the 18 member nations agreed to deepen their energy
cooperation, seek alternative energy sources, and assist each other with food
needs. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Dominica the next day to launch
a fuel plant, as part of the Petrocaribe cooperation.
summit took place in Saint Kitts
and Nevis in the West
Indies. A Venezuelan initiative, Petrocaribe's main objective is
achieving energy security in the Caribbean region, primarily through the buying
of Venezuelan oil at preferential prices. Petrocaribe was founded on June 29th
2005, with 14 countries, and since then 4 more countries have joined. At this 6th
summit, Santa Lucia also requested to join Petrocaribe.
summit focused its discussion on expanding energy agreements, collectively
dealing with the economic crisis, and investigating alternative energy. Chavez
told the press that Venezuela had been talking with Honduras and Nicaragua
about the possibility of exploiting geothermic energy and that in the Caribbean
region, due to its geographic characteristics, there was potential for wind and
18 countries also discussed communication strategies to exchange information
and promote their advances and achievements. In addition, they highlighted the
need for food cooperation, agreeing on the need to deepen and accelerate food
and agricultural projects, "oriented toward solving the deficiencies in the
processing and supplying of food in the countries that most lack it," said
Honduran Chancellor Patricia Rodas.
proposed to the Petrocaribe council that they examen the creation of their own
currency, a proposal he has pushed at several regional conferences over the
the United States
they have the machinery to make dollars and they simply make dollars. We need
our own currency in order to free ourselves from the tyranny of the dollar… it
was agreed by ALBA that it's a system of regional compensation …and we're going
to start it this year, a pilot project," said Chávez.
the final declaration of the summit the Caribbean countries recognized the need
to unite in order to fight the effects of the global economic crisis and
highlighted the positive effects achieved so far through doing this.
reaffirmed the last summit's resolutions, "particularly the creation of an
integrated Petrocaribe fund supplied by… the bank of [the Bolivarian Alternative
for the Americas] ALBA," Rodas said. "The ALBA bank then becomes the regional
financial managing mechanism, that is, it will finance infrastructure projects
for the supply of petroleum and crude oil, and likewise, social projects," she
declaration also noted "the achievements derived from the formation of mixed
companies between the member countries of Petrocaribe, which has permitted the
development of energy infrastructure, direct supply, and social projects aimed
at strengthening the energy sovereignty of the countries."
the declaration approved the proposal by the Dominican Republic to present
Petrocaribe as a successful example of "south-south" cooperation to the next
general assembly of the United Nations.
Douglas, prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, a country with a population
of 42,000, said, "Petrocaribe will help to create new economic links to
strengthen the industry of tourism, as with education, agricultural
development, among others."
Ramirez, Venezuelan minister for energy, said Petrocaribe had helped the
participating 18 countries to save 1.4 billion dollars, and that between 2005
and 2008 the supply of petroleum to these countries had increased from 59,000
barrels per day to 118,000 barrels, or a growth of 105%.
using the ALBA Caribe Bank, 11 of the member countries have invested a total of
$222 million in 84 social development projects, such as installing 10 million
energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs in the Dominican Republic, and 1.8
million in Nicaragua, Ramirez said.
said summits like Petrocaribe show that the region is in an epoch of change. "Petrocaribe
is more solid and independent every day, regardless of the international
situation or the price of oil, it's a commitment we have with the countries
that make up this great geostrategic and economic alliance," he said.
Chavez inaugurates fuel
plant in Dominica
Saturday after the summit, Chavez arrived in Dominica where, together with the
country's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skirrit, he inaugurated the Waitukubuli
plant of fuel storage and distribution. The plant can store 35,000 barrels of
fuel, including diesel, petrol, and cooking gas and is owned by the state.
said they started building the plant two years ago as part of a Petrocaribe
you won't depend on transnational companies, who… bought petroleum in Venezuela
and came… here to sell [it] at double and triple the price… now you'll have
fuel security without anyone coming to plunder…know that all the petroleum that
Dominica needs for the next 200 years is there in Venezuela," he said.