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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 12:54, September 05, 2005
Venezuelan president defends PetroCaribe initiative
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday rejected opposition claims that his government "gives away" oil to Caribbean countries through the PetroCaribe initiative in return for international support.

PetroCaribe, an initiative put forth by the Chavez administration last year to supply oil to Caribbean countries under favorable financial terms, was labeled by the opposition as a way for Chavez to garner international support.

In a Sunday television and radio program, Chavez said the 13 countries that signed the agreement will receive preferential terms for the purchase of oil. In some cases, Venezuela would even accepting goods like sugar or bananas in exchange for oil.

In his defense, Chavez said PetroCaribe is an "entrance," a first step towards the Bolivarian Alternative trade pact, considered as a counterweight to the Free Trade Area of the Americas proposed by the United States.

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said Chavez will travel to Jamaica on Tuesday to discuss details of the agreement with the participating countries. Bilateral agreements will be signed and specific requirements from each country will be considered, said the ministry.

The registered countries in PetroCaribe are Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guayana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.

Source: Xinhua

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