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Hugo Chavez’s Legacy Concrete in Belize Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

pm barrow at petro caribe opening.jpg - 106.97 Kb“I don’t think there is another country in the world that has gone as far as Venezuela in terms of making resources possible and specifying that those resources ought to be used specifically to transform the relationship of the people, help the poor, but Venezuela is giving until it hurts and for that I really want to thank them.”- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington.

In just 19 months the Government of Belize has gained access to over $200 million through the second incarnation of Petro-Caribe Agreement for Energy Cooperation and every penny will be used for poverty alleviation and national development, as intended by the late President Hugo Chavez. Using Petro-Caribe funds, the Government of Belize has been able to open the National Bank of Belize which lends to public servants and middle income Belizeans at rates that have forced the commercial banks to lower their lending rates to all Belizeans. The Petro-Caribe fund is also being used to create thousands of construction jobs countrywide in projects being executed by the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL). As a result, a new state of the art Belize City Center will be constructed and sports complexes costing at least $5 million will be built in every municipality of the country.

Belize is a model in the region for the effective implementation of the Petro-Caribe initiative and on Friday, April 25, the program took another step forward with the official opening of a local office for ALBA Petro-Caribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL), a joint venture company owned by the Governments of Belize and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, and Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize, H.E. Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, cut the ribbon for APBEL’s office on Friday. Prime Minister Barrow says the ceremony was not only to open an office but also to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of establishment of Diplomatic relations between Belize and Venezuela. He says, “The relationship between Belize and Venezuela has grown bilaterally but it is also part of a larger and most significant regional development that is a new model of economic cooperation arrangement in Latin American and Caribbean affairs - driven by the establishment of ALBA and Petro-Caribe.” 

Ambassador Marcano says, “Venezuela is proud of the fact that it was one of the countries that had always supported Belize, even during the time of the United Nations’ debate, and we rejoiced with you at the time of Independence.” He says Venezuela’s support of Belize is unwavering and, “We will continue under whatever circumstance to assist the Government and people of Belize in their process of economic development with peace, democracy and social justice.” Ambassador Marcano says the Bolivarian Revolution has given a new perspective to assist Belize as it has “transformed cooperation into integration and solidarity into brotherhood.”

Ambassador Marcano says, “[President Chavez’s] goal was to stabilize the economies of countries in the region using energy.” Prime Minister Barrow saluted the Comrade saying, “The opening of the APBEL office today is of course a brick and mortar testament to the importance for Belize of Petro-Caribe and the trailblazing nature of the program’s regional and South-South solidarity paradigm.” Ambassador Marcano closed saying, “We affirm without a doubt that the development of both countries are tightly joined.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 15:15