Chavez vows oil, financing for leftists

Por Venezuela Real - 29 de Abril, 2007, 13:27, Categoría: Petróleo/Energía

Leslie Mazoch
The Boston Globe
April 29, 2007

BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela --President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela hopes to gradually sell off its refineries in the United States and build a new network of refineries in Latin America, part of a plan to offer his leftist allies in the region a stable oil supply.

Chavez also raised the idea of issuing a regional bond to raise funds for social spending as he hosted a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, a leftist bloc and trade group that includes Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

"I proposed that we issue an ALBA bond. I hope that we can do it.... And that we issue it here in Venezuela, like we did with Argentina, and bring in $1 billion," said Chavez, addressing leaders Sunday on final day of their meeting.

The money acquired through the bond would be put in a fund to provide credit for alliance member nations, Chavez said.

The Venezuelan leader repeated a proposal for a day earlier to guarantee the supply of 100 percent of the energy needs for ALBA members as well as Haiti.

He added that his government has set aside an area for ALBA countries to help explore for and exploit heavy oil in the Orinoco River basin, where on Tuesday the state is to assume majority control of oil projects from transnational companies.

"We could even create an ALBA oil company," he said. "ALBA-Petroleo, Petro-ALBA .... to take out that oil."

He said Venezuela eventually plans to help build a network of refineries in Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia and Dominica, as well as refurbishing Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery, to provide a stable supply of oil -- and the earnings it generates -- to countries in Latin America.

Chavez noted that Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. has seven refineries in the U.S. "The United States knows that part of our plans is to sell those refineries there," he said.

"We offer to Latin America ... as we get out of those refineries -- and even without getting out of them -- to build new refineries or expand them in the case of Cuba, send our oil there to be refined instead of to the United States," Chavez said.

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