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Jun 28, 2018

$400 Million Owed for Petrocaribe

Petrocaribe is rolling no more. Belize is among eight countries affected by Venezuela’s PDVSA which has said that it is suspending its petroleum deliveries. Reports emerging from Venezuela suggest that PDVSA’s oil production is falling drastically. Coupled with the U.S. sanctions, its future financial status is bleak. Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight says that through the programme, Belize owes four hundred million Belize dollars.

 

Joseph Waight

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“The problem with the Petrocaribe, although there is a willingness on the part of PDVSA to continue supplying, the problem is the sanctions have really taken effect, the U.S. sanctions. We, unfortunately, just happened to be collateral damage in that regard. Sanctions mean we cannot pay them. They have shut down their international banking systems as far as Venezuela is concern. So we are unable to pay for any fuel that we buy and that is the sad reality.”

 

Reporter

“Do you know if the Government has any considerations for providing or paying back in several ways? Agriculturally I believe has been one of the suggestions.”

 

Joseph Waight

“That is easier said that done for several reasons. First of all, you would have to enter into an agreement with Venezuela as to what agriculture product, what price, what quantity and for how long. Because our farmers will need a contract to invest, to produce so we can supply. But that is only a part of the story. The other part of the story is how do we get a container load of beans, corn, rice from Belize to Venezuela. We still have to buy shipping. We still have to pay for insurance. We still have to pay for shipping freight. It has to go to a port in Miami or charter a vessel directly. Or how do we pay for that. The sanctions extend to payments not only directly to Venezuela but also to any firm who is doing business with Venezuela. So we can’t pay.”

 

The Petrocaribe loan is being repaid at one percent interest and over a period of twenty-five years. The next payment is due in October.

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