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Caracas, Thursday June 30 , 2005  
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Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados cautious of Venezuelan initiative
Petrocaribe born in doubt
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez ponders the scope of Petrocaribe during the Caribbean energy summit held in Puerto La Cruz, eastern Anzoátegui state (Photo: AFP)
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The heads of state and government at the First Caribbean Energy Summit reached an agreement to implement the procedure. However, the move did not come up to President Chávez' expectations

PEDRO PABLO PEÑALOZA
EL UNIVERSAL

Despite all logistic troubles during the First Energy Meeting on Petrocaribe, it should be noted that the staff hosting the event hit the target by taking the appropriate pictures before the complicated second working session of the heads of state and government who attended the event in the city of Puerto La Cruz.

Around 4:30 p.m., participants could still smile. However, differences started to emerge during the first session. Discussions were related to an agreement on the oil initiative devised by Caracas for Caribbean neighbors.

With a prompter in his left hand, President Chávez explained in a didactical way by means of slides, the extent and benefits of the agreement. Except for Cuban ruler Fidel Castro, who once in a while interrupted briefly his Venezuelan counterpart, guests listened carefully and quietly to the presentation.

However, after the monologue, the guests opened their mouths and asked questions that many observers considered as clearly answered. "Is our involvement restricted to fuel procurement? Does the agreement bind us to some exclusiveness with Venezuela? Because we also buy oil from Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname," Guyana Prime Minister Samuel Hinds wondered.

Earlier, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández had taken the floor to support the initiative. However, he stated: "Some aspects in the scheme need to be defined. Petrocaribe will work concomitantly with the San José Agreement and the Caracas Agreement for Energy Cooperation. I think that in some cases there would be overlapping."

Overwhelming remarks came from Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister. "This entails that Venezuelan byproducts will have competitive advantage as compared to my nation's products. I think you forgot about our supply, and we would like to analyze further this proposal. This is troublesome, as some facilities are owned by multinational corporations, and they are not state property."

Translated by Conchita Delgado




 
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