In 10 Years Petrocaribe Transformed Economic and Social Situation of the Region

By Leonardo Buitrago on July 10, 2015

etrocaribe31322837286In its first 10 years of operation, the cooperation agreement Petrocaribe has boosted economic and social transformation of its member nations.

Following the signing on June 29, 2005 of the Energy Cooperation Agreement by 14 Caribbean nations during the First Energy Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean on Petrocaribe, this mechanism has strengthened a new favorable, equitable and fair exchange scheme between the countries of the Caribbean region to ensure regular access to energy resources.

This cooperation mechanism created by the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, has fulfilled its main objective: supplying fuel to member countries on favorable payment terms through soft loans, low interest rates and a part of the oil bill being paid in other goods and services, usually food.

“Petrocaribe, undoubtedly, has been and is the project on Caribbean history that has caused major positive changes in the economic and social life of our peoples, with an inclusive, unified and deeply humanist vision. Petrocaribe has become a project of prosperity, development and stability in the Caribbean,” stressed President Maduro at the 9th Petrocaribe Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, held last March in Caracas.

He said that this integrating body has become a mechanism for cooperation beyond energy security, because its efforts are aimed to lift millions of human beings living in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela out of the misery.

“Petrocaribe is now deeply humanistic, closer, respectful, pursuing relationships for common development on a basis of equality of states, mutual respect and solidarity among peoples,” said the head of state, while noting that words like respect and solidarity have reached their fullest meaning within this body.

Cooperation projects

In its first 10 years, Petrocaribe has developed a number of important initiatives to improve life quality of the peoples of its member nations.

Among these are the commercial compensation of 2.781.980 tons of food products from a portion of the long-term oil bill and the operation of 15 joint ventures.

Furthermore, they include the development of productive and social projects, with 200 million dollars from the Alba Caribe Fund as well as 88 social projects benefiting a population of 12 million people in 12 countries.

Currently, this scheme has on the agenda to take forward the Hugo Chavez Action Plan to eradicate hunger and poverty.

This initiative created in 2013 provides support to 21 countries of the Petrocaribe Economic Zone and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), in order to formulate projects of family farming, promote agro-industrialization and develop productive chains for the equitable distribution of food, through the creation of comprehensive policies and plans for the eradication of hunger and poverty.

Additionally, the 19 nations that make up the integration mechanism are developing the Petrocaribe’s University Common Space Project; Transport and Communications, air and sea; Trade and Integration, including the update of the Compensation Manual and new fair trade mechanisms as well as the proposal for the creation of the Petrocaribe Urea Route.

Consolidation of Economic Zone

From 2013, the block has focused on strengthening the Petrocaribe Economic Zone, created in order to increase and diversify intraregional commercial and productive exchange, so as to foster economic, social and cultural development.

This project involves the exchange in five areas: transport and communication, production chain, tourism, trade and social and cultural integration; with the aim of expanding the productive capacities of member countries, taking into account their potential.

Through the Petrocaribe Economic Zone, Venezuela will boost the export of products to countries of the regional bloc.

“In this Petrocaribe Economic Zone we will also embark on with domestic production to the Caribbean through trade and economic compensation,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez said recently at a press conference in Caracas.

She also stressed that this area will not only bring economic benefits to the country, but will also serve to strengthen cultural, environmental and energy ties.

“Through Bolivarian diplomacy we approach states and there we get significant results in the social sphere, with the delivery of Canaima laptops, we have also participated in the development of infrastructure, and there are Venezuelan businessmen taking part in the Caribbean economy,” said the head of the Venezuelan diplomacy.

Expansion and strengthening

Caribbean nations are also working on the 2015 Petrocaribe strengthening and expansion program, which includes the injection of $ 200 million into Petrocaribe-Alba Investment Fund, for the development of complementary and alternative energy sources projects in 2015.

President Maduro said that as part of this program, it is planned to include the gas issue as a “complementary matter to strengthen the integral equation of Petrocaribe.”

“The year 2015 is a year of progress to implement major gas projects,” he said in recent statements.

Source: AVN