labels: Oil & gas
Chavez expands oil-against-goods and services alliance news
22 December 2007

Mumbai: Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has proposed to extend a barter scheme to supply oil to other Caribbean and Central American nations against payment in agricultural goods and services.

The barter scheme, currently being used by Cuba, would help the Latin American and Caribbean countries pay for oil supplies with products and services.

Chavez's offer came at a summit of his regional energy alliance, Petrocaribe. He also attacked the US and other rich nations for squandering their unfair share of world resources.

Chavez also opened a revamped Soviet-era refinery in Cienfuegos, Cuba that will supply diesel, gasoline and jet fuel to members of Petrocaribe.

"In spite of the Yankees, our oil and gas will always be at the service, first of Venezuela, and at the same time of our brother nations of Latin American and the Caribbean," he said.

"We have begun to create a new geopolitics of oil that is not at the service of the interests of imperialism and big capitalists," Chavez said in a speech.

The Petrocaribe alliance, which started in 2005, now has 17 member countries with the entry of Honduras, a traditional US ally.  Gauatemala's president-elect also wants to join.

Chavez said the debts of Petrocaribe members to Venezuela has grown to $1.16 billion in just over a year, and is expected to rise to $4.6 billion by 2010.

Cuba, meanwhile, has sent 20,000 doctors and teachers to Venezuela in exchange for crude and refined products now estimated to value $3 billion a year.

The barter scheme had worked very well for Venezuela, its energy and petroleum minister Rafael Ramirez said. "It has allowed us to lift up our health system and education," Ramirez said.

Petrocaribe allows its members to defer 40 per cent of their Venezuelan oil bill for up to 25 years, with interest of only 1 per cent.

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Chavez expands oil-against-goods and services alliance