Panama in Petrocaribe?

Panama Canal, image from World Maritime NewsDuring the recently held Organization of American States (OAS) 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro voiced the opinion that the host country should become a member-state of the Petrocaribe Economic Zone.

Speaking on Venezuelan State television from Panama, Maduro described Petrocaribe as a ‘project for integration, cooperation and solidarity for the peoples of the world’, emphasising that ‘it is not about domination’.

Another good statement from Maduro:

‘Petrocaribe is a reality, it is not a trick, it is not a project to dominate and conquer countries via transnational corporations. Petrocaribe is a project to liberate pueblos, it is a project of solidarity’.

Here Maduro purposefully defines Petrocaribe against another and more recent project that would seek to dominate and colonise via multinationals. He is, of course, referring to the US Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) which US Vice-President Joe Biden launched on 26 January 2015 in Washington, though in the pipes for much longer.

I wonder how Juan Carlos Varela’s government reacted to the Petrocaribe invitation?

Though the people of El Chorillo, with whom Maduro spoke prior to the Summit, were pleased with the prospect of greater ties between Venezuela and Panama. There Maduro promised he would present a letter to US President Obama, drafted by the Panamanian Commitee of Victims, stating the demands of those who suffered the 1989 US invasion.

In this context, a few days earlier, Obama had visited Jamaica to meet with CARICOM leaders. TeleSUR emphasises the significance of this trip by outlining the fact that this will be the first visiti by a US president to the island since Ronald Reagan’s 1982 visit, which was widely interpreted as an occasion for the US to mitigate the influence of the Cuban revolution in the region.

More, through here, here, and here.