Venezuela offers oil for the people—of Jamaica and the U.S.
Published Sep 3, 2005 8:12 PM
While the Bush administration and friends
continue their unrelenting campaign of lies, slander and hostility against
Bolivarian Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez is working incessantly to
find ways of using Venezuela’s oil and energy wealth to bring hope and
relief to millions of people throughout the Americas region, including the poor
in the United States.
After the U.S.-backed oil sabotage during the winter
of 2002-2003, Venezuela’s oil production has greatly improved. This is
because of the dedicated work of hundreds of Venezuelans identified with the
Bolivarian process, among them oil and other industry workers, people in the
community, pro-revolution members of the military and a loyal
Soon after the sabotage recovery, the Revolution began to
use the profits of PDVSA, the national oil industry, to finance special
essential projects of education, health care, job and housing development called
“Misiones” (Missions). These are aimed at elevating the
people’s standard of living, particularly the 80 percent of the population
that has lived in poverty under the previous administrations, which were close
allies of the United States.
The oil is now benefiting people not only
within Venezuelan borders, but beyond. Under President Chávez’
proposal of ALBA - the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a program of
integration for Latin America and the Caribbean that emphasizes social aspects
and economic cooperation while stressing solidarity - Venezuela’s energy
resources form the basis for this great initiative.
When leaders of
Caribbean states met at the end of June in Venezuela in the First Energy
Gathering of Caribbean Chiefs of State to ratify PetroCaribe, it signaled a
profound change in trade relations in the region. PetroCaribe is an Energy
Cooper ation agreement that will help poor Caribbean countries overcome their
terrible energy crises, a by-product of the high oil prices in the world
Despite a threatening letter from Pre sident George W. Bush to the
participants, 13 leaders signed the agreement with Venezuela.
August in Montego Bay, Jamai can President James Patterson signed an agreement
with the Venezuelan President Chávez, making Jamaica the first English-
speaking country to sign on to the ALBA-PetroCaribe initiative. Under this
accord, Venezuela will supply oil to Jamaica at a below-market price of $40 a
barrel. Besides paying low interest and through long-term loans, Jamaica can pay
Vene zuela with goods and services.
Other agreements were also signed.
Among them is one that will allow Vene zuela to upgrade the capacity of
production of a refinery from 30,000 barrels a day to 50,000.
countries deepened their partnership not only in terms of energy. Follow ing the
precepts of cooperation and solidarity of ALBA, Venezuela will set up a fund of
$60 million for socioeconomic projects on the island. Venezuela and Jamaica also
initiated talks on cooperation in other areas like medicine, education, tourism,
disasters response, science and technology.
Other parallel initiatives
under ALBA are PetroSur and PetroAndina, both in South America. However, one
such new initiative heads north to the United States.
During the weekly
Aló Presidente TV and Radio program, President Chávez announced
that Venezuela would like to provide discounted heating oil and free eye
operations to people in poor communities in the United States. He said that
Venezuela supplies the United States with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day and
that “we would like to provide a part of this 1.5 million barrels of oil
to poor communities.
“There is a lot of poverty in the U.S.,”
Chavez said, “and I don’t believe that everything reflects the
American Way of Life. Many people die of cold in the winter. Many die of heat in
the summer, many are unemployed and die of starvation.” He added,
“We could have an impact on 7 million to 8 million
President Chávez told the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who
was visiting Venezuela for three days during the commemoration of Dr. Martin
Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, that he would
like Jack son’s organization to help identify communities in the United
States. Plans include the distributing oil to poor households through Venezuelan
PDVSA’s CITGO stations in the United States.
According to the
Venezuelan Boli varian News Agency, President Chávez said that the
Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan am bassador to the Untied States, has reported that
the embassy has already received 140 oil requests. Chávez was quoted as
saying that “the intermediaries, the transnational companies, are
exploiting them; we are not going to lose a cent, we are only helping by
supplying directly to those most in need.”
also included poor people in the United States in the “Miracle
Mission.” This is a health-care program run jointly by Cuba and Venezuela
to provide free eye surgery to those in need. The operations will be performed
in Cuba, and Venezuela will provide the transportation.
stated that 150,000 people from the United States could benefit from this
program each year, and that those interested should contact the Venezuelan
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