We on the margin have been waging our own little campaign about the dangers of Hugo Chavez’ Petro Caribe initiative for the Caribbean, we have been very concerned about the apparent ease with which a number of Caribbean countries were stepping into what we saw as a debt trap which would be very difficult to get out of. Barbados and Trinidad have been steadfast in their refusal to join (even with a change of government in the former) now signs are beginning to emerge.
Bahamas Minister of Finance Zhivargo Laing pointed out the obvious in an article in the Bahamas Journal.
“Really what [Petrocaribe] amounted to…was a borrowing to finance oil more cheaply but ultimately there was a repayment that had to be made in any event for that oil and so I am not entirely sure that that was and is the answer,” Mr. Laing said.
“If it were, I’m sure that more CARICOM countries would have hoped on that bandwagon in terms of doing so and to date that enthusiasm has not been there.”
Yes it has to be paid back! And in the meantime you are on the hook to a country that has shown itself to have a territorial agenda that works counter to many Caricom states’ welfare.
We have often asked the question on this blog, “What is it that Chavez gets out of Petro Caribe?” Thankfully it seems that other people are asking the same question.