Chavez, Preval Meet to Discuss Joining Petrocaribe

Venezuela'a President Hugo Chavez was scheduled to meet Haiti's President-elect Rene Preval in Caracas on Monday to discuss the possibility of the Caribbean nation becoming a member of regional energy cooperation scheme Petrocaribe, Venezuela's state news agency ABN reported.

Chavez made the announcement during his weekly television and radio show, "Alo Presidente" on Sunday. "Petrocaribe is a responsibility Venezuela has to assume in recognizing the disadvantages of each country," said Chavez.

The framework for Petrocaribe was signed in the Venezuelan resort city of Puerto La Cruz last June and ratified by the signatory nations in Jamaica in September.

Under the Petrocaribe agreement, countries can pay for Venezuelan crude and liquid fuels with locally produced goods, especially foodstuffs, and also finance up to 50% of their fuel bill at 1% annual interest rates.

Although the conditions are favorable and the crude and liquid fuels both readily available and plentiful, the scheme has hit two snags in the form of storage space and transportation, both problems for the global energy industry, especially in the Caribbean region.

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