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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 10:50, September 06, 2005
Central America on "maximum alert" due to energy crisis
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Central America countries on Monday declared a state of "maximum alert" in response to the ongoing energy crisis and announced visits to Venezuela and Colombia to explore the possibility of oil assistance.

"The consequences of the world oil crisis we are faced with are pretty much like that of an earthquake or a tsunami," said El Salvador President Antonio Saca at the end of a regional meeting held in Nicaragua.

The economic ministers will soon travel to Venezuela and Colombia to seek solutions, as the Central American presidents agreed during the summit originally intended to discuss political conflicts in Nicaragua.

The economic difficulties of Central America and Caribbean countries, most of which have to rely on imports for industrial demand, were exacerbated last week as refiners and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico were crippled by Hurricane Katrina.

During the upcoming visits to Venezuela and Colombia, the Central American ministers will call for a revision of the Pact of San Jose for favorable oil prices, said Saca.

The Pact of San Jose, sponsored by Mexico and Venezuela, allows for the supply of crude on credit to the Central American and Caribbean countries, but does not include preferential pricing. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which includes Venezuela, also has no record of granting favorable prices to the region.

Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco described the recent rise of international oil prices as a "blow to developing countries and mostly to poor ones." Crude reached a record high of 70.90 US dollars per barrel last Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

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