Adrienne Arsht Center Nonresident Senior Fellow David Goldwyn cowrites for the Houston Chronicle on the Petrocaribe energy alliance:
It has been nearly ten years since Venezuela launched its Petrocaribe energy alliance, but now the program’s future is increasingly uncertain. Its demise could unleash economic havoc in Central American and Caribbean nations. With potential reverberations for the Houston economy, now is the time to examine a policy change, and the United States can be part of the solution.
Designed to win the loyalty of Central American and Caribbean states, Petrocaribe provides credit subsidies to purchase Venezuelan crude oil and petroleum products on preferential financing terms. Yet an increasingly unstable Venezuela calls into question whether the funding will suddenly dry up, making the recipient states’ dependence unwise. Soaring inflation and foreign currency shortages have contributed to political unrest and a scarcity of basic consumer goods in Venezuela. International Monetary Fund forecasts indicate the country’s gross domestic product will decline in coming years.