PUERTO LA CRUZ, Venezuela – Fresh from his confrontation with Pres. George Bush at the Summit of the Americas, Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez is using his most powerful asset – oil – to challenge U.S. dominance in the Caribbean. His latest move, according to the BBC, is a regional oil initiative to provide fuel at cheaper prices to 15 Caribbean nations.
Venezuela, a leading oil supplier to the United States, is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, producing 3.1 million barrels a day. Chavez is using that position to develop diversified energy ties with the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia. He has named the new plan Petrocaribe, and describes it as “an energy alliance” that will offer highly preferential oil prices, with Venezuela picking up 40 percent of the cost if oil is selling at more than $50 a barrel. That could mean further price breaks for Cuba and other nations. read more