Just like a couple of kids who refuse to touch something because it has been touched by someone who has the “cooties,” castro and Chavez are doing an about-face on the production of ethanol–only because President Bush likes it. As reported in today’s Miami Herald:
Venezuelan President Hugo ChÃ¡vez was on the ethanol bandwagon. Until, that is, President Bush jumped aboard. Now, it seems, ethanol is a threat to the poor.
In August 2006, the Venezuelan state oil corporation PDVSA signed an agreement with its Brazilian counterpart, Petrobras, for ”long-term” supplies of ethanol as a renewable substitute for gasoline.
Until just a few weeks ago, the leftist ChÃ¡vez was pressing ahead with a five-year project to sow almost 700,000 acres with sugar cane to produce ethanol. With the technical support of Brazil and Cuba, 15 new sugar mills were planned to produce 30,000 barrels of ethanol a day.
Even in early March, Havana and Caracas announced an agreement to build 11 ethanol plants in Venezuela, using Cuban expertise. The agreement also included the modernization of 10 plants in Cuba and the construction of a further eight, based on Brazilian production methods.
But after Bush visited Brazil and signed an ethanol deal with President LuÃz Inacio Lula da Silva, both ChÃ¡vez and his close ally, Fidel Castro, converted to the anti-ethanol camp.
Sniff, sniff, I’m taking my ball and going home!
Many analysts, however, see the change of heart by the two leaders as a product of political, rather than environmental considerations.
”What’s hidden behind the ethanol issue is a game of geopolitics,” said Edgar C. OtÃ¡lvora, an economist, historian and former diplomat. ”Rivalry with the United States” is the explanation, OtÃ¡lvora argues.
‘There are many contradictions in [ChÃ¡vez’s] discourse – being simultaneously an environmentalist and an oil producer is a contradiction in itself.”
What?!?!? Chavez contradictory?!?!? Perish the thought! 😀