Obama to offer alternative to Venezuelan crude on Caribbean swing

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Obama to offer alternative to Venezuelan crude on Caribbean swing
US President Barrack Obama.
US President Barrack Obama.

AFP – Barack Obama will become the first US president to set foot on Jamaican soil in more than three decades Wednesday, as the United States bids to check Venezuelan influence in the Caribbean.

Obama will arrive in Kingston for a meeting with the 15-member CARICOM Caribbean bloc, the first time a sitting US president visits the island since Ronald Reagan in 1982.

Obama will be keen to offer an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil, which has enticed many of the region’s struggling economies, but looks set to end.

Obama will have to woo countries that while geographically close to the United States, sometimes feel politically distant.

“We absolutely feel that the CARICOM region does deserve greater attention and engagement from the United States,” said senior Obama advisor Ben Rhodes on the eve of the visit.

He pointed to a recent energy initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden.

“We are looking to continually deepen our relationship with the Caribbean and can play an important role in enhancing the energy security of the region,” said Rhodes.

The United States had “significant” energy resources and infrastructure, he added.

If the US has not always made its presence fully felt in the Caribbean, that vacuum was filled by Petrocaribe, an initiative by Caracas’ state-owned PDVSA — Petroleos de Venezuela.

The program offered Caribbean and some Central American nations the opportunity to defer payment for oil under low interest rates.

But as Venezuela’s own economy has faltered as oil prices slid, Caribbean states have faced stricter terms and shorter supplies, leaving them vulnerable.

Venezuela “has been reducing its subsidized oil exports to Petrocaribe and the smaller states that receive those subsidies including Cuba,” said Ted Piccone, a former advisor in Bill Clinton’s White House.

Piccone, now of the Brookings Institution, said the cuts to Petrocaribe are estimated to be anywhere between ten and thirty percent of supply.

“The goal of the United states now is to try to break up Petrocaribe and offer in particular the Caribbean states that are so vulnerable and so dependent on energy imports some extra special attention.”

Obama will arrive to Jamaica late on Wednesday. Before the CARICOM meeting on Thursday he will hold talks with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller.

 Austerity for Jamaica 

Her government has been forced to adopt tough austerity measures in order to correct a fiscal crisis and meet the demands of IMF creditors.

With domestic pressure building, the White House is lending its “strong support for Jamaica’s work to deal with a debt crisis” said another senior Obama advisor, Ricardo Zuniga.

Critics say Jamaica has been forced to adopt what the US-based Center for Economic and Policy Research called “the most austere budget in the world.”

“Jamaica actually has a lower per capita GDP in 2015 than when Obama was elected more than six years ago,” the economic think tank said, urging less strident cuts.

Before departing for a Summit of the Americas in Panama late Thursday Obama will take part in a “town hall” meeting with young leaders in Jamaica and participate in a wreath-laying ceremony.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. USA does not give a thing if it can't receive something in return.
    What do you really want Obama? Are you laying the ground work for another industry takeover like what dole & Chiquita did to bananas.

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  2. Obama is a puppet an the U.S aim is to control the Caribbean just as they control their own. Illuminati Alert!!!!

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    • Very true - but 'they' want world control, all of us are/will be slaves to the corporation.

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  3. Since the end of the cold war the us has had very little interest in the Caribbean they don't care one f..k about us so tell Obama to keep his oil let's not also forget that they were the ones who were also responsible for us loosing preferential treatment for our bananas

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  4. SEEMS THAT THERE IS A NEW COLD WAR BREWING IN THE AMERICAS BETWEEN THE USA AND VENEZUELA. WE MUST EXPLOIT THIS RIVALRY TO OUR ADVANTAGE TO ENSURE THAT WE RECEIVE MAXIMUM AID AND ATTENTION FROM BOTH COUNTRIES.
    DON'T FORGET THAT THE REPUBLIC OF IYANOLA (A.K.A.SAINT LUCIA) IS STILL THE HELEN OF THE WEST AND WE MUST USE THE RIGHT PLAY TO SURVIVE IN A DIFFICULT WORLD.

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  5. What a load of crap.instead of write something with substance you are writing rubbish that's one of the reasons people say that we are a dumb people .

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  6. what crap!
    don't be dependent on Ven, be dependent on us, we will only drop some austerity on you later on.
    The US has NOT stopped importing Ven oil, yet telling other countries not to use it.
    SMH...

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  7. The saddest part of this whole Obama drama is that they know Caribbean leaders are dumb.
    And that they are so ready to bend over like prostitutes at any cost.

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  8. Obama you sick Bastard, YOU!

    Your only agenda is to push and muscle your way for Corporate America.

    This is why I never like you.

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    • Obama / USA will do whatever it takes to save their Petrodollar. bribary / lies / wars etc etc. If you dont use the Petrodollar to trade the usa will go after you.

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  9. Well we all know of our relationship with the Obama Admistration as being "not on good terms." When Joe Biden came to the Caribbean our PM snubbed him and went to Cuba to recieve a "so-called" award and instead sent surborinate PM Phillip in his place. Why was he avoiding Biden at this critical meeting where every other head of state attended? The media did not even ask that question because i remember asking on this forum.

    You may be guessing that it was because our country had to answer for alleged human rights abuses. But this is deeper. One only has to investigate the relationship between our leader and the regime in Venezuela. Many speeches have been given in Venezuela on our behalf, most if not all have been denouncing the US. You wonder why any of those speeches wasn't replayed in ST. Lucia? Meanwhile at home we are openly encourage to insist that the US stay out of our business while beind the scenes the PM issues to the US a report. To this date nobody knows what exactly was in that report yet most believe that it contained some of what he revealed on our television.

    It maybe that the recent declaration by the US that Venezuela being an "enemy" may have boxed in our PM to attend this meeting. Since snubbing the US again will make us guilty by association. Don't you think our treatment by the US has more to do with our relationship with a US enemy rather that human rights violations against our people. Remember that was the original position advanced by me. But i would have expected most to miss it because of most people don't read for themselves and are either misinformed or disinformed by party propaganda.

    What a naieve country!! Oh What price are we are going to pay for our political insolence.

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  10. Oh gwoosh Barack just when I thought we didn't need you I come to realize that since after my son was born in the U.S.A you would have to rescue me and my Dominican people! But please let Kenny and myself and the rest of the labour movement keep fooling the stupid people of our countries please don't let them see a change is coming ! Let's go Obama give it to them cocolox in kindness ! Crumble labour once and for all !

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