Gulf News

Chavez proposes Latin American energy system lasting 1oo years

Venezuela wants to prioritise regional markets in a true energy revolution

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for the creation of a Latin American energy system to prioritise local markets in a “true energy revolution,” guaranteei­ng oil and gas supply to the region for 100 years.

“All the oil and energy that Latin America needs is here in Venezuela,” Chavez said last night at a graduation ceremony in Caracas.

“That resource, once in the hands of the empire, is now in Venezuelan hands, and we have it to share with the people of Cuba and the Caribbean, Nicaragua and Central America, Brazil and South America, at least for 100 years.”

Chavez called proposals by US President George W. Bush to substitute gasoline with ethanol in a bid to reduce US reliance on foreign oil, “true craziness” that “go against nature” and threaten the region's poorest inhabitant­s.

“To produce the ethanol necessary to replace the gasoline that the US alone consumes, we'd have to plant almost all the land on this continent with corn or sugar cane — not to feed people, but to feed the cars of the US empire,” he said.

Chavez said the US proposal would never sabotage relations between Venezuela and its ethanolpro­ducing neighbour, Brazil, as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has offered “serious” bio-fuel plans that are in fact different from what Bush has led the world to believe.

“We'll never fight with Brazil on this, we'll never fight with Lula,” Chavez said. “The world press says, “It's “Fidel and Chavez against Bush and Lula.’ No, it's not like that. It's Fidel and Chavez against the US empire.”

Bush and Lula met last week at Camp David to develop an accord signed in March in Sao Paulo to increase ethanol production in their nations.

Lula is seeking to convince his US counterpar­t to push Congress to cut the nation's 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, boosting Brazilian exports and tempering US reliance on Venezuelan crude.

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