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Feb 21, 2019

Bye Bye Alba Petrocaribe

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is hell bent in not allowing U.S. aid into the country. The embattled president closed Venezuela’s border with Brazil on Thursday until further notice amid a tense standoff with U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.  Here at home, the operations of the office of Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited, APBEL, will be shut down next week Friday after Belize benefited from over four hundred million dollars in the loan programme.  The company’s focus was to facilitate the cooperation between Belize and Venezuela, but following economic and political instability in Venezuela, the Barrow administration suspended PetroCaribe. As Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained, nothing is happening at the office and directors of APBEL have expressed concerns over the possibility of being sanctioned by the U.S. government.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The thing is that our members of APBEL, remember we are forty-five percent, the others in Venezuela are fifty-five percent, are fearing that somehow sanctions might attached to them personally so they are not going to stay. The Venezuelans say, and we have told them, that APBEL does nothing so there is nothing to sanction, no activity to sanction. But you know Creole and their visa, you can’t blame for being scared. So they want to come off of the board. When I said to the Americans, nothing is happening with APBEL. APBEL is non-functioning. They asked the same question, “well why is the office open?’ It was a question to which I had no good office because I know that they are paying the owner of the building a decent amount of money. They are paying personnel who are supposed to be employees who are doing nothing because there is…all APBEL did was to act as the placement agent for the fuel that we are sourcing in Venezuela. That stopped almost two years ago. I think the Venz would still like to see us keep it open for their purposes in terms of optics but it can’t. Mencias was clear, it will close by next Friday. That I am afraid will be an end of a chapter at least locally, internationally well, that is a story yet to be told.”

 

General Manager at APBEL, John Mencias, has applied to fill the vacant post of Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Electricity Limited.


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