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Raul Castro at opening of PETROCARIBE summit.
We firmly believe in our combined capacity to develop for the good of our peoples.

Cuban First Vice President Raúl Castro affirmed this Friday that Cuba sees the Petrocaribe bloc as a decisive step on the road to continuing to develop efforts for integration and cooperation in the region.

We firmly believe in our combined capacity to develop for the good of our peoplesSpeaking at the opening of the 4th Petrocaribe Summit in this city, Raúl Castro affirmed that, in consequence, Cuba would continue to provide modestly and selflessly everything within its reach for this noble and strategic project.

"We firmly believe in solidarity, cooperation and our combined capacity to develop for the good of our peoples," he stated.

He said he was confident that the summit would contribute to further consolidating this pact, which is highly beneficial to the interests of these nations.

Petrocaribe is much more than a just solution, within the current international situation, to the serious energy problems faced by small countries that lack their own hydrocarbon resources, thanks to the attitude of solidarity shown by Bolivarian Venezuela, he said.

This important meeting for the nations of the Caribbean Basin comes at time when oil prices have broken all records, and when there is an extremely complex situation for the majority of Third World nations, which are net importers of energy.

Given that, he said, the countries that belong to Petrocaribe find themselves in a privileged position; they enjoy a mechanism that allows them to have access, in a preferential way and at fair prices, to the energy resources that will guarantee their perspectives for development and their peoples daily lives.

Therefore, the Cuban first vice president affirmed, this initiative, the fruit of a spirit of solidarity shown by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its president, Hugo Chávez Frías, must continue to be consolidated and developed in all of its components.

Growing consumerism in the developed countries has had, is having and will have a devastating effect on the planet if not curbed, he said.

Wasteful and pollutant consumption has led to the exhaustion of many sources of hydrocarbon fuels over the span of a few years, something that Nature took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate, he noted. Moreover, it has brought with it the climate change that is now the cause of so much concern and that could wipe entire nations off the face of the Earth.

At the same time, it has spread war, because who could question how the struggle to control oil has been the cause of the invasion and occupation of foreign lands, a danger that persists, he said.

However, Raúl said, while the consequences of those patterns of consumption are worrying, so are the attempts by industrialized nations to makes us all into societies as wasteful and pollutant as theirs, into predators of Nature on a planetary scale.

He noted that "the recent events in Bali, at the conference of all parties to the Kyoto Protocol, are a clear demonstration that there are governments, especially of the country that is the most wasteful and the most pollutant, that are not willing "not even to save humanity" to renounced the privileges that they have arrogated for themselves for centuries through force, and through the plunder of the natural resources of nations of the South."

Given this state of affairs, projects like Petrocaribe acquire particular importance, given that they are designed and operate not only to guarantee the energy security of their members, but to promote sustainable development.

For Cuba, he said, a central element is added: conservation, and he noted that in recent years Cuba has successfully worked on the design and putting into practice of a policy that has made it possible to reinforce the rational and increasingly more efficient use of hydrocarbons.

"We have taken forward a real energy revolution, with experiences that have been successfully applied in several sister countries and placed at the disposition of Petrocaribe, thanks to the sharpness, ingeniousness and perseverance of compañero Fidel," he affirmed.

(Granma International)

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