Above: the summit in Caracas
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The seventh PetroCaribe summit in Caracas concluded this weekend with an agreement by member countries to establish a PetroCaribe “economic zone.”
The move would expand the PetroCaribe oil agreement, which currently counts 19 member states, beyond the area of petroleum.
Newly-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, chairing his first summit since winning last month’s vote, said the creation of the economic zone would seek to “invest, to do business, to jointly develop projects and tourism projects.”
According to Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez, the idea of a PetroCaribe economic zone was first hatched by the late Hugo Chavez.
PetroCaribe’s member states also agreed to include Honduras and Guatemala as full members.
The region’s countries also discussed improving air connectivity between PetroCaribe member states, although it’s not clear just how that would manifest itself.
“We are ready to make an alliance of both public and private companies and to establish connectivity in the PetroCaribe zone,” he said, pointing to the fact that member country Suriname, despite being a neighbour in Latin America, had to go through the United States to reach Caracas.
“In the 21st century, this is unforgivable,” he said.