Brazil-Venezuela Ethanol Dispute to Dominate South American Energy Summit

Kirchner, Morales, Lula, Chávez at Venezuela's Margarita summit Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is at odds with Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over the scale of ethanol output in developing countries. And ethanol production is expected to dominate the energy summit of South American nations which has got underway Monday, April 16, in the Venezuelan Caribbean island of Margarita. 

Venezuela is the region's only member of the oil-producers' cartel OPEC and Chavez opposes the use of ethanol. Brazil recently signed an alliance with the US to promote ethanol production in Central America and the Caribbean.

President Lula has rejected criticism from President Chavez and others that the use of ethanol as a biofuel would use up valuable arable land and increase food prices. Since the first oil shocks in the seventies Brazil is a pioneer in the use of ethanol made from sugar cane to power cars.

"All South American countries and Africa can easily produce oil seeds for bio-diesel, sugar cane for ethanol and food at the same time," Lula da Silva said on his weekly radio program.

Argentina's Nestor Kirchner, a close friend of Chavez and crucial partner of Lula in Mercosur, is expected to play a moderating role in the meeting to which Uruguay has sent its vice president Rodolfo Nin Novoa.

Welcoming the leaders to Venezuela, Mr Chavez said increased economic co-operation was needed as a counterweight to US power in the region.

"We are above all South Americans," he said. "We should put all efforts into creating the great homeland that is South America.

Also on the agenda for the two-day meeting is a proposed continental bank to rival institutions like the International Monetary Fund and plans to build a network of gas pipelines in the continent.

According to Argentine sources the final declaration will focus on gas and electricity connectivity; alternative fuels and medium and long term agreements.

Besides host Chavez, Kirchner, Lula da Silva also present at the meeting are: Bolivia's Evo Morales; Chile's Michelle Bachelet; Colombia's Alvaro Uribe; Ecuador's Rafael Correa; Guyana's Bharat í‚ngelo; Paraguay's Nicanor Duarte Frutos; Peru's Alan Garcia and Ronald Venetiaan from Surinam.

Mercopress

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • AES

    Screw Chavez
    His interest is proprietary. He is not interest in the global solution to the use of petro chemicals, because he has a vested interest. That is all we need is to have thieves as the managers of a South American bank. Brazil would be well not to be snowed by this guy that just bought three billion dollars worth of Soviet military equipment. Pretty soon he will not be asking Brazil what to do but telling Brazil what to do.

  • Tori W

    Brazilian Energy summit
    Hugo is right to be at odds with the push for ethanol. People have to realize that all Cars that run this fuel HAVE to be converted…this is a cost to the customer. The fuel injectors and gas pumps of the vehicle are not made to run with a sugar based fuel. Ask yourself what happens if you put sugar in your tank. things get so gummed up it won’t run. The rates at which people are talking about growing corn is at the cost of the rain forest. More burning and less breathing and more CO2 emissions from that…More wildlife endangered. And due to the a lack of ability to pollinate the Corn How is this going to be profitable. The US has got tself so jammed up on the OIL-GATE that it is looking for all other sorts of ways to get out of it and appease the people. Now being that we have an abundant reserve of waste crude which is renewable and can be recycled. All eyes should be turning to that. Being that no matter what crude is going to be used to run the TYPE of cars we have in existence today.

  • Professor

    Rosie Chavez
    Hugo Chavez and Rosie O’donnel should get married and become king and queen of the new S. American-Russian-Chinese-Iranian empire.

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