Dear Friends. This is my last article as Lead Author of this blog. Although I plan to continue my research on all issues related to energy in the Americas, I am ready for new challenges and projects. I will make sure to post the occasional article as a guest contributor in this blog space.
Meanwhile, take good care and keep in touch. Best, Annette.
On Wednesday I scooted out to New York to attend the meeting/release of the report/recommendations put forth by the UN Secretary General Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group. The gist of their mandate is to help the UN system understand and act on the nexus between energy and environment.For anyone who looks at the environment from an energy perspective the official stamp of the UN is a welcome development. If you are interested, read the report and recommendations. You will note that it is written in UN prose… lofty goals and all, with little reference on how to make it happen – still it is a start and, better late than never.
At the meeting the discussion began with general comments, but it didn’t take long before the focus turned to Venezuela and PetroCaribe (by the way, if you need more info on PetroCaribe, check my previous posting). On this occasion, we witnessed a fiery exchange between the Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN and José María Figueres, a former president of Costa Rica. True to their Latin roots, passion got the best of both sides.
It started when Venezuela took the floor for a breathless 20 minutes to extol the virtues of the Bolivarian revolution and its social conscience. The ambassador talked about ALBA (Chavez’s Alternative for the Americas), about PetroCaribe, and purposely failed to mention that Venezuelans were now subject to electricity rationing. That is, if the goal is access to energy (one of the report’s recommendations), then Venezuela is going backwards. Everyone in the room was getting impatient. But Mr. Figueres was having a hard time controlling his temper. He took the floor immediately after, made some pertinent comments on the report, and then left diplomacy behind and manifested his outrage at Venezuela talking about its largesse when its own citizens were suffering.
As we left the meeting and walked to a hotel close by for lunch, the conversation kept going back to the exchange. I thought it was revealing that even at the UN I saw a repeat of what I had seen two weeks before in DC: Chavez gets under people’s skin. And then they refuse to examine the possibility that PetroCaribe did deliver when the Caribbean and Central America needed the most.
What do you think? A young renewable energy expert I talked to insisted that PetroCaribe was a curse because these countries now have a bill to pay to Venezuela, whereas if they had had a crisis, they would have been forced to find a solution. Do you agree?
Do let us know… and by the way, if there is any other subject you think CIGI should be focusing on, make sure to let us know. I am certain your ideas will be considered with enthusiasm.