“Seventeen countries of the Caribbean face a heightened period of economic uncertainty now that Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has died,” contends former Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Walters in a March 10, 2013, article published at Kaieteur News Online. See “The Caribbean after Chavez.”
The highly regarded commentator noted:
Twelve of the 17 Caribbean countries are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). They have become highly reliant on their oil supplies from Venezuela on a part payment-part loan scheme, called Petro Caribe, without which their difficult economic circumstances would be decidedly worse. Of the $14 billion worth of oil that Venezuela provided under Petro Caribe to the 17 dependent countries up to last year, $5.8 billion constituted long-term financing. Cuba is the principal beneficiary but, in per capita terms, so too are a number of CARICOM countries – Jamaica particularly.
I highly recommend Mr. Walter’s sober analysis, which is in stark contrast to much of the sarcastic and hostile commentary I read about Mr. Chavez and his economic policies in the days following his death. The analysis is substantive and shows a deep understanding of Mr. Chavez’s policies and the impact they had on the leaders and populations of Caribbean and other nations in the region. See “The Caribbean’s Debt to Hugo Chavez.”