San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduras Eyes Offshore Oil Exploration Under ALBA

TEGUCIGALPA – A firm chartered by the Venezuelan-led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) might soon be prospecting for oil in Honduran territorial waters in the Caribbean, according to a document released Aug. 26 by the press.

A joint declaration signed last week by the heads of the ALBA member-states establishes “petroleum prospecting and production in the Honduran Caribbean” as one of several ways to “cooperate immediately” in a “demonstration of solidarity” with Honduras.

ALBA’s energy concern “will carry out … studies and, under the coordination of the Honduran state, will be able to develop the production and marketing plan,” the document sets forth, as published by the Tegucigalpa daily Tiempo.

To date, the government of President Mel Zelaya has not officially released the documents signed during the ceremony in the capital marking Honduras’ accession to ALBA, whose other members are Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica and oil-rich Venezuela (NT, Aug. 29).

That situation sparked criticism by businessmen and lawmakers opposed to the decision to join ALBA.

At last week’s signing ceremony, Zelaya and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez reiterated in their speeches some of the advantages Honduras will obtain by joining ALBA, without mentioning the search for oil. According to Chávez, ALBA has “grand-national” firms, the property of the members countries, instead of corporate multi-nationals.

The document establishes that Honduras will receive a $30 million credit line for its state agricultural bank, and Venezuela will buy $100 million in bonds in housing and in the informal sector of the economy.

In addition, it sets forth that the cooperation Honduras received from Cuba and Venezuela in fields like education, health, agriculture and energy will increase.


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