Chavez Guarantees Latin American Energy Supply for 100 Years
By Theresa Bradley
April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for
the creation of a Latin American energy system to prioritize 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 tonight 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 U.S. President George W. Bush to substitute
gasoline with ethanol in a bid to reduce U.S. 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
U.S. 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 U.S. empire,'' he said. ``That's craziness.''
Chavez said the U.S. proposal would never sabotage relations between
Venezuela and its ethanol-producing neighbor, 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
``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 U.S. 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,
the world's two largest producers of the bio-fuel.
Lula is seeking to convince his U.S. counterpart to push congress to
cut the nation's 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, boosting
Brazilian exports and tempering U.S. reliance on Venezuelan crude.
While Chavez tonight conceded that bio-fuels can be added to gasoline
to replace polluting additives, as Venezuela itself has done, he
denied it was practical to fully substitute ethanol for fossil fuels.
Should nations really wish to reduce their reliance on oil, Chavez
suggested they instead boost natural gas consumption. Venezuela is
home to the world's eighth largest natural gas reserves, he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Theresa Bradley in Caracas at