PetroCaribe press ahead with plan to eradicate hunger & poverty

Go Lean Commentary

Venezuela Oil“He who has the gold makes the rules”; this is considered the golden rule. Today, oil is considered Black Gold. This succinctly describes the status of PetroCaribe and its regional campaign.

The foregoing news article speaks of PetroCaribe and ALBA, two economic integration initiatives by Hugo Chavez (1954-2013), the late President of Venezuela. He proved to be impactful, yet polarizing. His advocacy of socialism often brought him at odds with other western democracies, especially the US. But still, Chavez and Venezuela as a whole wield great power in Latin America and the Caribbean due to their abundance of resources and oil reserves.

The publisher of the book Go Lean…Caribbean, SFE Foundation, is a Community Development Foundation, constituted with members of the Caribbean Diaspora. The book’s first chapter defines the character and objective:

The SFE Foundation is not a person; it’s an apolitical, religiously-neutral, economic-focused movement, initiated at the grass-root level to bring change back to the Caribbean homeland – no one Caribbean State is favored over another. The SFE Foundation is not affiliated with the CariCom or any of its agencies or institutions. This movement is not an attempt to re-boot the CariCom, but rather a plan to re-boot the Caribbean

The same as is said about CariCom, in the above text, can be applied to PetroCaribe and ALBA.

CARACAS, Venezuela — The action plan for the eradication of hunger and poverty in the economic zone of PetroCaribe is showing significant progress. In order to define the specific intervention initiatives for each country, representatives from 17 Caribbean and Central American nations met in Caracas, Venezuela on 3 and 4 April 2014.

The meeting was opened by the vice-president for social areas of Venezuela, Hector Rodriguez, who emphasized on the importance of PetroCaribe for the region, noting that “this is a proposal that seeks equality based on diversity”.

Referring to the results of the action plan for the eradication of hunger and poverty, he stated, “We have the strategic goal of making the Caribbean a hunger free region.”

On this occasion, countries presented their concrete initiatives to eradicate hunger and poverty locally. The Executive Secretariat of PetroCaribe, with technical assistance from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, will evaluate the proposals based on the guidelines set out in the action plan, which were approved by all the countries in the region. Selected projects will receive implementation funding from PetroCaribe.

At the meeting, the president of PDV Caribe and ALBA executive secretary, Bernardo Alvarez, emphasized the efficient implementation of the action plan: “We must congratulate ourselves on the important progress we have made in implementing the action plan for the eradication of hunger and poverty.”

Alvarez highlighted the leadership of FAO director general, José Graziano da Silva, in the creation of this regional initiative to end hunger: “This would not be possible without the inspiration of the director general of FAO, who was the creator of the Zero Hunger program in Brazil during the government of President Lula.”

The FAO regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Raúl Benítez, noted, “The action plan to eradicate hunger and poverty is an example for everyone. This initiative is a concrete response to the 47 million people who still suffer hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Benitez acknowledged the commitment of the countries of the region, and Venezuela in particular, in the fight against hunger: “Venezuela is not only an example of a country that managed to defeat undernourishment in its territory, but it is an example of solidarity with an entire region.”

Meanwhile, executive secretary of PetroCaribe, Asdrubal Chavez, expressed optimism about the results of the action plan. “We could even reach our goals sooner than planned,” Chavez said.

The action plan is part of the priorities of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative, a commitment of 33 countries of the region to eradicate malnutrition by 2025. Its aim is to strengthen food and nutrition security of member states of the PetroCaribe and ALBA economic zone through national and regional hunger eradication projects.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This will serve as an integrated entity among Caribbean member-states; many of which are also members of PetroCaribe and ALBA; see Appendices below. So the advantageous characteristics of the SFE Foundation and the Caribbean Union as apolitical entities are manifested in this Go Lean effort.

According to the foregoing article, hunger and poverty are still major concerns in the Caribbean. The underlying motivation of the Go Lean book is brotherly love. Therefore who so ever, brings a solution to feed our hungry, poor brothers and sisters should be welcomed and embraced, despite their political affiliation. The roadmap is not “pro” or “con” American, but rather pro solutions; in fact the CU is described as a technocracy with a focus on delivery and merit, rather than ideologue or politics.

The Go Lean roadmap does align with many of the objectives of PetroCaribe as detailed in the foregoing article. The CU’s goal is to integrate the Caribbean member-states for permanent economic empowerment. As a result, many social benefits will flow. For example, the roadmap defines 10 [successful] Battles in the War Against Poverty (Page 222) and 10 Ways to Help the Middle Class (Page 223).

A basic economic principle is that education lifts people out of poverty. So the roadmap prioritizes education along with food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and energy as basic needs. The CU is to foster the eco-system to better deliver these basic needs of life for Caribbean people. In all, to make the Caribbean a better place to live work and play.

Download the book – Go Lean … Caribbean now!!!


Appendix – PetroCaribe
PetroCaribe is an oil alliance with Venezuela which allows the purchase of oil on conditions of preferential payment. The alliance was launched on 29 June 2005 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. In 2013 PetroCaribe agreed to links with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), and to go beyond oil and promote economic cooperation. It is now considered an “economic zone”.

The PetroCaribe agreement was initiated with the aim of having solidarity with other countries in accordance with ALBA. The payment system allows for purchase of oil on market value for 5%-50% up front with a grace period of one to two years; the remainder can be paid through a 17-25 year financing agreement with 1% interest if oil prices are above US$40 per barrel. The agreement builds on payment terms from the San Jose Agreement and the Caracas Energy Accord. Energy and Petroleum Minister and President of PDVSA Rafael Ramírez said of the deal that it seeks to cut out the middleman in such transactions: “We’re not talking about discounts…We’re talking about financial facilities, direct deliveries of products, [and] infrastructure.”

There are a total of 17 members, plus Venezuela; 12 of the members are from the 15 member CariCom (excluding, Barbados, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago). At the first summit, 14 countries joined the alliance. These were: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela. At the third summit, Haití and Nicaragua joined the union. Guatemala joined in July 2008 but left the organization in November 2013 stating that Venezuela had not provided them with the ultra-low financing rates that they had been promised.

Haiti finally joined the alliance in April 2006. Honduras became the 17th member of the alliance in December 2007, under President Manuel Zelaya. Belize set up the Belize Petroleum Energy Company to coordinate for the project.

Appendix – ALBA
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Spanish – ALBA: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América) is an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The name “Bolivarian” refers to the ideology of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century South American independence leader born in Caracas who wanted the continent to unite as a single “Great Nation.”

ALBA is associated with socialist and social democratic governments wishing to consolidate regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid. ALBA nations may conduct trade using a virtual regional currency known as the SUCRE. Venezuela and Ecuador made the first bilateral trade deal using the Sucre, instead of the US dollar, on July 6, 2010.

ALBA members include Antigua & Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, and Suriname.

Appendix – SUCRE
A regional currency to be used in commercial exchanges between members of the regional ALBA trade bloc, which was created as an alternative to the [proposed-but-never-ratified] Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). The SUCRE is intended to replace the US dollar as a medium of exchange in order to decrease US control of Latin American economies and to increase stability of regional markets.

The acronym is in Spanish, as: Sistema Único de Compensación Regional. In English, this means: Unified System for Regional Compensation

International trade between member states in SUCRE exceeded $850 million in 2013.

Eventually, the plan is for the SUCRE to become a hard currency.

Appendix – Referenced Sources:

• “PetroCaribe Meets in Venezuela, Links with ALBA”. Retrieved 6 April 2013 from:

• “ALBA Summit Ratifies Regional Currency, Prepares for Trinidad”. Michael Fox, Venezuela Analysis. Retrieved 17 April 2009 from:

• Wikipedia treatment for subject PetroCaribe. Retrieved April 7, 2014 from:

• Wikipedia treatment for subject ALBA. Retrieved April 7, 2014 from:

• Wikipedia treatment for subject SUCRE. Retrieved April 7, 2014 from:

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