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Context of 'September 7, 2005: Caribbean Countries and Venezuela Agree to Details of Petrocaribe Alliance'

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The 2003 Human Development Index—which ranks countries according to life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income—places Cuba in the 52nd position out of 175 countries. Of its closest neighbors, Haiti ranks 150th, the Dominican Republic 94th, Grenada 93rd, and Jamaica 78th. [United Nations, 2003]

Timeline Tags: US-Cuba (1959-2005)

CARICOM members meet in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis and call for a UN investigation into the February 29 ouster (see February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004) of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s. “In the light of contradictory reports still in circulation concerning the departure of President Aristide from office, heads of government (of CARICOM) believed that it is in the compelling interest of the international community that the preceding events and all the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power from a constitutionally elected head of state, be fully investigated,” the statement reads. [CARICOM, 3/26/2004; Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004] US Secretary of State Colin Powell will dismiss CARICOM’s call for a probe on April 5. “I don’t think any purpose would be served by an inquiry. We were on the verge of a bloodbath and President Aristide found himself in great danger.” [US Department of State, 4/5/2004; Agence France-Presse, 4/5/2004; Washington Times, 4/6/2004; Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004] And according to diplomatic sources interviewed by Inter Press Service, the US and France intimidate CARICOM into delaying its official request for a UN inquiry. Both countries warn that they will veto any resolution calling for a probe. [Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed sources]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Colin Powell, Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

After a two-day conference in the resort town of Montego Bay, Jamaica, energy officials from a number of Caribbean countries agree to a proposal by Venezuela to form a new oil company that would distribute crude and refined oil products to Caribbean countries under preferential terms. A commission led by Venezuela will devise a plan for the new company, to be called PetroCaribe, and a follow-up meeting will take place in the Bahamas in November. “PetroCaribe should be a catalyst for the introduction of alternative approaches to market access… and correction of the various pricing inequities that prevail in some markets,” the officials say in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the conference. Many of the countries are concerned that high energy prices will devastate their economies and lead to social unrest. Another initiative proposed by Venezuela during the conference is the establishment of a fund to provide grants for health, education, and housing programs in the Caribbean. Countries participating in the talks include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. [Associated Press, 8/27/2005]

Entity Tags: Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Thirteen Caribbean countries, led by Venezuela, sign the Petrocaribe Alliance, an energy cooperation agreement that will allow member nations to purchase oil from Venezuela under preferential terms. The agreement, signed during a one-day regional summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, calls for the establishment of a regional refinery network overseen by Venezuela that will produce and ship oil to member nations. The agreement is signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominican, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, San Cristobal and Nieves, Santa Lucia, San Vicente and the Granadinas, Surinam, and Venezuela. Two countries, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, choose not to sign. [United Press International, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005; Nation News (Barbados), 9/18/2005; Petroleos de Venezuela, 11/28/2005] The details of the pact will be decided in September (see September 7, 2005)

Entity Tags: Dominican Republic, Grenada, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Petrocaribe, Venezuela, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Caribbean leaders sign an agreement specifying the details of Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe Alliance. Under the agreement, Caribbean governments would purchase Venezuelan oil at market price. Whenever world market prices for oil surpass the $40 a barrel mark, Venezuela would offer to finance 40 percent of the cost to be payable over a period of 17-25 years at 1 percent interest. Further concessions would be granted if the price of oil surpasses the $100 mark. Governments will be permitted to pay a portion of their oil tab with services or goods such as rice, bananas, or sugar. “We have the opportunity to break from the path of imposed domination and servitude,” Chavez says during the talks. “The capitalist model… imposed on us is not sustainable.” The talks are attended by representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Surinam, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines. [Associated Press, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005]

Entity Tags: Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

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