Chavez pledges oil, money for leftists
By LESLIE MAZOCH
Associated Press Writer
BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela --
President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela hopes to gradually sell
off its refineries in the United States and build a new network of
refineries in Latin America, part of a plan to offer his leftist allies
in the region a stable oil supply.
Chavez also raised the idea of issuing a regional bond to raise funds
for social spending as he hosted a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative
for the Americas, or ALBA, a leftist bloc and trade group that includes
Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
"I proposed that we issue an ALBA bond. I hope that we can do it.... And
that we issue it here in Venezuela, like we did with Argentina, and
bring in $1 billion," said Chavez, addressing leaders Sunday on final
day of their talks. Chavez said the money acquired would be put in a
fund to provide credit for ALBA nations.
Chavez and other leaders signed accords for Venezuela to supply fuel
under preferential terms and join up with other countries for
cooperative projects in education, telecommunications, mining and other
He said Venezuela will guarantee to supply 100 percent of the energy
needs for ALBA members as well as Haiti. ALBA was created in 2004 by
Cuba and Venezuela as a counterproposal to U.S. backed free-trade plans.
Chavez said Venezuela eventually plans to help build a network of
refineries in Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia and Dominica, as well
as refurbishing Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery, to provide a stable supply
of oil - and the earnings it generates - to countries in Latin America.
He noted that Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. has seven refineries in
the U.S. and said that "part of our plans is to sell those refineries."
Under special oil deals offered by Venezuela, ALBA member nations will
be able to finance 50 percent of the bill for fuel under low-interest
loans, and 25 percent of the total bill will go into a special "ALBA
Fund" to support local projects through loans, he said.
Leaders attending included Haitian President Rene Preval, Nicaraguan
President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban Vice
President Carlos Lage, as well as officials from Uruguay, Ecuador,
Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.