Venezuela Fuel Shipment Warmly Welcomed in Argentina

Argentina received its first shipment of fuel offered by Venezuela to ease its energy crisis. Several South American governments plan to create a continental energy company

Venezuelan super tanker Ezequiel Zamora arrives to the Port of Buenos Aires on May 11th, 2004 with 327,717 barrels of fuel oil.
Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information

Buenos Aires, May 12, 2004 ( On Tuesday, in a cold but sunny day of the austral fall, a Venezuelan super tanker arrived on dock E of the almost bicentennial port of Buenos Aires with a shipment of 327,717 barrels of fuel oil to help ease Argentina’s energy crisis.

The “Ezequiel Zamora” tanker was welcomed by a crowd of more than one thousand people, including some 800 members of grassroots movements, dominated by the dirty and humble faces of Argentina’s new unemployed, the piqueteros. Also present were 150 government officers dress up with fine dark suits, most of them blonde, who appeared to be somewhat uncomfortable with the unusual presence of their not very well dressed and noisy compatriots.

Venezuela and Argentina recently signed an agreement in which the Caribbean nation will supply diesel, jet fuel, and oil to Argentina, which in turn will sell agricultural products, medicines, and agricultural machinery for Venezuela’s new agricultural development plan. The two countries are also working in a satellite engineering venture.

More than one thousand Argentineans welcomed the Venezuelan tanker carrying fuel to help mitigate the energy crisis in the austral country.
Credit: Barrios de Pie piquetero movement (published in Argentina Indymedia)

On Wednesday, a ceremony was held at the dock, with the presence of Venezuelan and Argentine government officials, private sector representatives, and members of the grassroots movements. Among the groups present were the Venceremos student colective, the Patria Libre current, El Peronismo Militante and the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.

“This is a historic moment. We are turning integration into a reality with this humble act,” said Venezuela’s minister of Energy and Mines, Rafael Ramirez, who gave the opening speech at the event. The crowd, responded by chanting “Alert!, alert!, alert that Bolivar’s sword has begun walking through Latin America,” a slogan used by President Chavez’s supporters to draw parallelisms between South American independence hero Simon Bolivar’s struggle against Spanish imperialism and the current efforts of Chavez for Venezuelan sovereignty and anti-neoliberalism.

Ramirez brought “direct greetings from President Hugo Chavez and from Venezuelan oil workers”.

“Thanks Chavez! That’s how La Patria Grande [The Big Homeland – an integrated Latin America] gets made” said the sign welcoming the Venezuelan tanker.
Credit: Barrios de Pie piquetero movement (published in Argentina Indymedia)

“I am extremely happy to be here today because yesterday I attended the creation of Argentina’s new energy company ENERSA, which will allow the country to control its energy resources once again,” said Ramirez. Argentina’s state energy companies were privatized under the neoliberal policies implemented during the 90’s. The foreign companies that purchased them did not make the necessary investments to meet the growing demand, leading to the current energy crisis. ENERSA will have a 53% ownership by the Argentine state, and 47% by private investors.

“We had to fight very hard to regain control of its oil and to put its national oil company at the service of the people,” said Ramirez in reference to the lock-out, strike and sabotage of Venezuela’s PDVSA promoted at the end of 2002  by opponents of President Chavez to force his ouster.

“The fuel we bring is a show of sovereignty that we bring to our dear Argentina to help her get out of those neoliberal policies that caused her so much harm,” said Ramirez.

The crowd responded by chanting “Calm down, calm down that with Chavez’s ship the privatized ones are going away”.

Towards a Latin American energy company

“We wish to put PDVSA at the service of economic and commercial projects to help strengthen not only Argentina but to contribute to the creation of South America’s most powerful energy company,” said Ramirez in reference to plans to create a joint venture between several state oil and energy companies in South America.

Venezuela-Argentina integration has taken an important step forward with the arrival of Venezuelan fuel to help Argentina with its energy crisis.
Credit: Barrios de Pie piquetero movement (published in Argentina Indymedia)

The audience exploded in applauses and chants when Argentina’s minister of Federal Planning, Julio De Vido, announced in his speech that in the upcoming days they will meet in Caracas with representatives of the Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia in order to discuss the creation of a Latin American energy company.


“We won’t be able to use Chavez’s fuel because it high sulfur content makes it harmful for Argentina’s energy plants,” said Antonio Lage on Channel 9 news last week, echoing reports from neoliberal analysts. Venezuelan officials have strongly rejected those claims.

The arrival of “Chavez’s ship” -as some people are calling it- sent shocks to the neoliberal political comentators who criticize Argentine President Nesto Kirchner’s partnership with the Venezuelan government.

External link:

  • Barrios de Pie movement (Argentina)