Ten years ago this month, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela leagued with its fellow Caribbean and Central American countries to advance social development through its bountiful petroleum resources under the Petrocaribe program. It has become a buzzword in Belize, especially since the re-establishment of the program under the current Dean Barrow administration. So while the debate over its worth for Belize continues, the Government hosted an official celebration with its Venezuelan counterparts in Belize City this morning. Venezuela’s Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Yoel Perez Marcano, spoke of the advancement of the program despite opposition.
“We repeat that Venezuela is a country of peace and friendship with the people of the Americas. We are very committed to continue contribution to aid development and wealth brought through by the Petrocaribe program and allow us that current power …the strong relationship of friendship and corporation that was developed by Commander Hugo Chaves, a friend and benefactor of Belize and all the people of the Caribbean sea, which continued with the decision of president Nicolas Madura Moro.”
The “foreign power” is the United States which has been accused of fomenting unrest in the South American nation. As part of the celebration Belize is hosting the training vessel AB Simon Bolivar , named for the liberator of South America. Its 110 crew members are training an 87-member staff of cadets attending the Venezuelan naval academy named for Admiral Francisco de Miranda Rodriguez. Belize’s Minister of Human Development Anthony Martinez formally welcomed them to Belize on behalf of Prime Minister Barrow.
“‘Sailing is necessary, living is not,’ this is the motto of the navy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This motto, just like the strong sailing wind, brought the commander and crew of the Simon Bolivar to our friendly shores. We are so pleased that this beautiful naval training vessel has traversed the Caribbean to come to Belize. The strength and impact of Simon Bolivar is unmissable just like this visit, its presence here is symbolic. It rises tall in recondition on this Petrocaribe visit. It’s arrival reflects the same coordination and cooperation navigated so successfully by the members of the Petrocaribe agreement.
The ship is participating in its annual Abroad Cruise Instruction “Caribbean 2015” and stays through June 15.