Diplomatic Relations / General / Weekend News

Petrocaribe loan payment becomes due this year

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has to start repaying Venezuela this year on what it has used from the Petrocaribe funds.

Belize has used around $240 million from the funds to invest in infrastructure and the first tranche of payment will mark an end to a two-year grace period granted to Belize, according to Venezuela’s Ambassador to Belize, Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano.

The ambassador held a breakfast meeting with reporters this past week to discuss Venezuela’s current economic, political and regional status in light of what has been reported in US media.

With respect to the Petrocaribe fund, Ambassador del Valle Perez Marcano said “This year Belize begins to pay part of the 40 percent to Venezuela. The payment depends on the rate of the fuel … we hope that our allies and our friends who have received the benefits of our commercial proposal live up to their obligations in the time that it corresponds”, the ambassador commented.

While he said the Maduro administration was confident over returning to power in elections in August, Ambassador Marcano was also candid over the future of the Petrocaribe, if there was an upset at the polls.

“In case the opposition wins, by whatever means, not only will it affect the congress of Venezuela but also our political [relations] for solidarity and cooperation with our brothers of the Caribbean, including the Petrocaribe program. … The first thing that a government that wants to do a coup attempt is to eliminate the decisions of international cooperation agreements that have been signed by President Nicolas Maduro, and the most affected would be Petrocaribe. And I would ask you, would that have a consequence on Belize and the rest of the Caribbean? Definitely yes.”

Petrocaribe is an oil alliance that came about in June of 2005 between several Caribbean countries and Venezuela to purchase oil from that country on conditions of preferential payment.

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