Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega voiced support Wednesday for sugar-made biofuel during a visit by his Brazilian counterpart, whose country is the world's largest producer of ethanol fuel from sugarcane.
In a joint press conference with Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Ortega lashed out at supporters of producing fuel from corn, the usual practice in the United States. Ortega associates this practice with its president George W. Bush.
"We reject the gibberish of those who applaud Bush's totally absurd proposal, which attacks the food security rights of Latin Americans and Africans, who are major corn consumers," Ortega said.
Lula, who arrived in Managua late Tuesday for an official visit, echoed his counterpart's remarks, saying that "Using corn for ethanol in Nicaragua is ... impossible."
He added both Brazil and Nicaragua have great hydroelectric potential, with only 30 percent of Brazil's rivers currently utilized.
The Nicaraguan president said an ethanol project has been underway in his country with a view to exporting to Europe.
He said it would be a good idea to include about 10 percent of ethanol mix in Nicaragua's fuel consumption.
During Lula's visit, the two countries signed cooperation agreements on agriculture, fishing, health, education and the promotion of biofuels.
Lula will leave Nicaragua this afternoon for Jamaica and then Panama. He has already visited Mexico and Honduras as part of a five-nation tour that started on Sunday.