Venezuela to help Cuba rebuild oil refinery

Campaign News | Tuesday, 11 April 2006

$800 million investment will boost Cuban economy

HAVANA 11 April - Venezuela and Cuba will invest $800 million to $1 billion to start up an unfinished Soviet-era refinery on the island, the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, Adan Chavez, said Tuesday.

"The aim is to completely reactivate the Cienfuegos refinery," the envoy, an older brother of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said at a news conference.

The initial investment will be approximately between $800 million and $1 billion in shared costs, he said.

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA formed a joint venture with Cuba on Monday to revamp the unused refinery on the shore of Cienfuegos Bay in south-central Cuba, and signed an agreement guaranteeing Venezuelan feedstock of 70,000 barrels per day.

Venezuela and Cuba signed an accord in April 2005 that committed PDVSA to help start the refinery, which was completed in 1991. The refinery, with an installed capacity of about 76,000 barrels a day, has never operated because of its reliance on outdated Russian technology.

PDVSA has said it plans to spend about $2.2 billion on overseas refineries through 2012. Sixty-nine percent of the investment is earmarked for a refinery in northern Brazil.

Chavez asks Blair to return The Malvinas

Caracas, Feb 9 (Prensa Latina): Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded from British Prime Minister Anthony Blair on Thursday, to return The Malvinas Islalnds (Falklands) to Argentina.

Those are Argentinian islands Mr. Blair. They are Argentinian islands, said Chavez, who recalled the outrage by the British navy against the Argentinians, with US support.

The Venezuelan head of State accused Blair of being an unconditional allied of US President George W. Bush, accusing him of being a "crazy man" that is putting humankind and the US population in danger.

He is crazy. See his arrogance, his look, how he walks? and he is making plans against Iran and Venezuela now. He is a crazy man. US citizens will need to tie him up one of these days, because he is going to terminate half the world, he highlighted.

In reference to the accusation of Venezuela by Blair, about the need for his respect to the international rules, Chavez said the US and British governments are those which are disrespectful to the international community.

Remember how they stole the Malvinas from the Argentinians, he said.

Chavez spoke in the opening ceremony of an indigenous population center in the eastern Zulia state, as part of the recognition of the autochthonous peoples? rights.

The row comes after the following exchange in Parliamentary question:

Prime Ministers Questions

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Colin Burgon (Elmet) (Lab): I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister shares the satisfaction that is felt by many on the Labour Benches about the shift to the left that has taken place in Latin America. To use a phrase, this is bringing Governments into power who will be in the interests of the many and not the few. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that it would be bad news for all concerned if we allowed our policy towards those countries, especially Venezuela, to be shaped by a really right-wing US Republican agenda?

The Prime Minister: Up to a point. It is rather important that the Government of Venezuela realise that if they want to be respected members of the international community, they should abide by the rules of the international community. I say with the greatest respect to the President of Venezuela that when he forms an alliance with Cuba, I would prefer to see Cuba a proper functioning democracy. I entirely understand the point that my hon. Friend is making, and I will obviously reflect on it carefully, but I have to say to him that the most important thing is that countries in south America and north America realise that they have much in common, much to gain from each other and much to gain from each other particularly through the principles of democracy.

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