jeudi, avril 19, 2007

Actualité - Where energy resources will be the basis of development

L'Amérique latine forme dorénavant une alliance stratégique et politique pour mettre en commun les ressources naturelles de leurs pays. Baptisée, l'Union des Nations de l'Amérique du sud, ce rassemblement vise à former un bloc économique pour contrer les multiples efforts d'exploitation des pays nord-américains. Avec la hausse constante des besoins pétroliers et gaziers, les pays du sud risquent de donner du fil à retorde aux Américains, grands consommateurs de ces matières premières. Une belle façon de préserver un contrôle de ses richesses...

WHILE the empire promotes wars of aggression with the complicity and extreme apathy of the rich and industrialized North in order to guarantee via blood and fire the oil resources it needs to satiate its unbridled consumerist society, just south of the Rio Grande the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has emerged, a strategic political alliance reaffirming that same energy as a common asset, a pillar of the social well-being and development of our peoples.

Presidents Hugo Chávez and Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, accompanied by theircolleagues from Paraguay, Nícanor Duarte, and Bolivia, Evo Morales, place the first stone for the region’s most modern petrochemical complex, a joint project between the Venezuelan company Pequiven, and the Brazilian Braskem.

This transcendental development took place in the city of Porlamar on the Venezuelan island of Margarita, with the joint sponsorship of the 12 governments that comprise South America, eight of which were represented by their presidents in the 1st Energy Summit, convened by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and which was described as successful by the participants.

Those attending included presidents Alvaro Uribe of Colombia; Néstor Kirchner, Argentina; Evo Morales, Bolivia; Hugo Chávez, Venezuela; Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil; Michelle Bachelet, Chile; Rafael Correa, Ecuador; and Nícanor Duarte, Paraguay, as well as representatives of Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana and Peru.

The meeting was planned in Cochabamba, Bolivia, last December after the most recent presidential meeting of the South American Community of Nations served as a space for analysis and discussion on the energy issue and its importance for the integral development of our nations.

Following up on that issue with the aspiration of institutionalizing the agreements reached – while bearing in mind a number of joint projects already underway – was the task set for this 1st Energy Summit.

It should be noted that the event took place at a crucial moment for the future of humanity, when the rich and industrialized North is becoming desperate in face of the inevitable reality of the exhaustion of many natural resources for energy production, such as oil, gas and water.

Latin America is thus becoming the region on which imperialist greed is focusing like never before, given that it holds some of the world’s greatest reserves of oil, gas, water and forests, and above all when it is known that in the next 20 years, demand for the first two will grow by 22% and 62%, respectively.

The issue is, then, to reach consensus on a policy of integration that rises above the commercial aspect of energy and becomes an irreplaceable vehicle for the region’s economic and social development; meanwhile, nobody doubts that in today’s world, there can be no development without a guarantee of energy.

And in our case, it is imperative if we consider that colonialism, first, and then neocolonialism and neoliberalism have all hindered our economies by making us into agro-exporters.

It is a question of consensus, of reversing that situation of dependence and underdevelopment by utilizing our natural resources as a guarantee of our own sovereignty and independence and to the benefit of our peoples.

Sufficient reasons for the Isla Margarita Summit, after a frank, cordial and open discussion among its participants, to adopt four extremely important agreements:

1. - To name this integration effort by member states as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

2. - To establish the creation of an Energy Council, with the mission of presenting a proposal on the matter for the 3rd Summit of South American Nations. The Council will be comprised of the energy ministers of each country, who will base their work on the principle that energy integration should be utilized as an important tool for promoting social and economic development, as well as eradicating poverty.

3. - To designate a Permanent Secretariat that will have its offices near the Mitad del Mundo Monument in Quito, Ecuador.

4. – To entrust the foreign ministers with designating the Permanent Secretary and transforming the High-Ranking Officials Commission into a council of delegates or a political commission charged with drawing up a draft agreement for the UNASUR constitution.

Another of these proposals —which in and of themselves, according to analysts and commentators, made the regional meeting worthwhile — was to create a South American Energy Treaty, with the goal of having, in the near future, a tool for the cohesion of a system of production, distribution and supply of guaranteed energy for the continent’s peoples, according to President Chávez.

These agreements come at a time when integration projects are underway like the Great Gas Pipeline of the South, which has become a mega-project transporting gas from the Venezuelan Varibe to the Río de la Plata in Argentina, crossing Brazil’s immense territory.

It is also in that direction that the so-called Transoceanic highway is supposed to run, from Venezuela to Colombia’s Pacific Coast and Panama, with plans to extend it to Nicaragua.

Just a few hours before the Summit was opened by the Brazilian and Venezuelan presidents, Lula and Chávez, respectively, the cornerstone was placed for the region’s most modern petrochemical complex in the state of Anzoátegui, for processing oleochemicals and polypropylene. It is a joint project of the Venezuelan company Pequiven, and its Brazilian counterpart Braskem.

It was an important event, considering that more than a few media agencies — precisely those that tend to echo imperialist lies — had repeated over and over that supposed disagreements between Lula and Chávez, above all on the recent issue of ethanol production, would cause the Summit’s failure, and South American integration’s return to the realm of dreams.

The issue, on the contrary, served to clarify positions and win supporters in the sense that, as the Bolivarian leader said, nobody is against ethanol; rather, they are against the U.S.
president’s macabre idea of the mass conversion of the production of corn and other cereals and grains into biofuels for automobiles.

So much so that Chávez himself expressed his readiness to buy ethanol from Brazil free of import tariffs — as opposed to those imposed by the United States — to use as an additive for Venezuelan gasoline.

It is also significant that the final declaration of the Margarita meeting includes the need to develop programs and cooperation activities in terms of energy conservation and efficiency, when none of the alternatives sought by the rich North are in the direction of conservation or rational use of that resource.

In that document, the maximum representatives of the statements issued by the 12 countries confirm their will to promote cooperation among the national oil companies of member states, including the industrialization of hydrocarbons, as well as energy-related commercial transactions, with the goal of contributing to the development and competitiveness of the South American region and increasing the well-being of the peoples in the framework of complementariness, solidarity and equity.

Likewise, they acknowledge the initiatives taken by various countries for greater cooperation and coordination of efforts related to energy, such as Petrosur, Petrocaribe, Petroandina, Petroamérica, Petrolera del Cono Sur and others.

The 1st Energy Summit, no doubt, was an event of transcendental importance and the basis for new efforts on the road to true integration, which is also the building of a new America.

(Granma International, par Nidia Diaz)

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