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.