NPR

The Fallout From A Seemingly Sweet Oil Deal For Venezuela's Neighbors

The PetroCaribe program provided fuel to Venezuela's neighbors on long-term credit to spur economic growth. What has happened now that Venezuela is in free fall?

It sounded like such a good idea at the time.

The year was 2005. Global oil prices were climbing dramatically. Countries in the Caribbean were facing major fuel shortages. Venezuela, one of the world's largest producers of crude, offered to ease the staggering fuel costs faced by its neighbors.

And that's why Hugo Chavez launched PetroCaribe. He billed it as an "energy alliance" that would spur economic growth and development in the region. The program sent oil to countries in the Caribbean and Central America on extremely generous terms. The PetroCaribe countries essentially only had to pay for half of the fuel up front. Venezuela financed the remainder of the fuel bill at as little as a 1% interest rate for the next

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