Mexico is looking to replace Venezuela’s oil program Petrocaribe should the government of President Nicolas Maduro fall, three officials told Reuters.
Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program, which was launched in 2005 under late President Hugo Chavez, has given Caribbean states oil supplies under a flexible credit mechanism, which allows them to partly pay cash for each shipment, and partly finance the rest at low interest rates, or through the purchase of goods.
The officials told Reuters that if Mexico were to take lead instead, the world’s 11th biggest oil producer could gain more regional allies.
This comes as the United States levied further sanctions on Venezuela, months after proposed legislation specifically outlined intentions to undercut the South American nation's Caribbean relations, specifically by providing alternatives to Petrocaribe.
Numerous attempts by U.S. allies at the Organization of American States to isolate and sanction the Bolivarian nation have been blocked by Venezuela's allies in the bloc, including many Petrocaribe nations.
In addition to fostering solidarity among the Caribbean peoples, the creation of Petrocaribe was the first energy agreement based on cooperation, social development and justice signed between a group of states from any region in the world.
The United States — whose president, Donald Trump, has made military threats against the Latin American country — has been looking at ways of replacing Petrocaribe since at least 2015, according to an anonymous external White House advisor.
However, one of the Mexican officials rejected that it was being influenced by its neighbor to the north.
“It wasn’t the United States’ idea,” he told Reuters. “It’s ours.”