Last year, Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and the Dominican republic had been experiencing fuel shortages due to their dependence on Petrocaribe oil. Late last year, commentators signalled that Belize could experience fuel shortages if it continued to rely solely on Venezuela’s dwindling Petrocaribe fuel resources. This shortage of fuel, particularly diesel, hit Belize hard over the last 9 days, and was followed immediately by a sharp spike in regular gas, even before the new shipment hit retailers. In an interview with one media house last week, when asked about the Belize fuel shortage, John Mencillas stated that
“I think it is one of inventory management, storage capacity at the depot.” Mencillas even cited possible operational malfunction at the Venezuelan refinery as possible causes for the delays in fuel delivery. Well, yesterday, a newly released Barclays report was picked up by International media which states that Venezuela has cut in half its subsidized shipments of crude oil to Petrocaribe member nations by 50%; from 400,000 barrels per day to just about to 200,000 barrels per day according to a Barclays report. Not even Cuba, which has been Venezuela’s strongest ally, has been spared; it is now receiving half of what it did in 2012. The cuts in deliveries to Cuba will hit that nation hard because, while countries like Belize pay a portion of the fuel deliveries up front, Cuba does not make cash payments but instead pays by sending doctors, and sports trainers to support venezuela’s social programs as well as its intelligence services. While ALBA PetroCaribe Belize Ltd has imported US$238 million worth of fuel from Venezuela since late 2012, in the last decade, PetroCaribe agreements have cost Venezuela up to $50 billion,” helping to plunge Venezuela into of the worst economic crises.