Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Venezuela Proposes Caribbean Energy Cartel

Oh, sure, they won't call it a cartel, but Venezuelan egomaniac Hugo Chavez imagines his proposed Caribbean energy venture will have the salutory -- for him -- effect of booting foreign companies from the oil and gas fields of South and Central America:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuban President Fidel Castro and 14 other Caribbean delegations are expected to sign an accord later today creating PetroCaribe, said Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's oil minister. Venezuela is touting PetroCaribe as a way to lower energy prices by cutting out third parties and speculators and lessen the influence of foreign oil companies.

``We will be free no matter what,'' Chavez, 50, said at a conference in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. ``We want to make an arc of energy cooperation in the region.''

Chavez, whose country has Latin America's largest oil reserves, has advocated greater cooperation to lessen the impact of higher energy costs on the region. He has also said Venezuela is seeking to diversify its oil customers to lessen dependence on the U.S., where it sells more than half of its oil.

Yes, and presumably so would some of these other countries. Trinidad and Tobago has remained silent on whether it would sign the treaty; the country produces a simply staggering amount of anhydrous ammonia, 90% of which is exported. The other "planned" signatories include Belize, Guyana, Suriname, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

It's hard to look at this and not think Chavez is bearbaiting the U.S.