The United Nations’ FAO praised Venezuela's PetroCaribe oil program Wednesday, arguing the initiative has dramatically increased access to food across the region.
"In the last 10 years, Petrocaribe has become one of the food cornerstones in Central America and the Caribbean," the FAO said in a statement.
A report co-authored by the FAO's Chilean office and PetroCaribe claimed the Venezuelan oil program had contributed to the reduction of malnutrition in the region by making basic fuels more easily accessible.
"So far, Petrocaribe has provided 19 countries with more than 109 programs and social projects that have benefited millions of people in the Caribbean and Central America,” the report found.
Launched in 2005, PetroCaribe allows member countries to purchase oil from Caracas under preferential terms. Member countries need only pay 60 percent of the cost of oil upfront, while the remaining 40 percent can be paid over a period of 25 years at an interest rate of 1 percent.
Over the past year, PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, has provided an average of around 100,000 barrels of oil per day to member countries. Since the creation of PetroCaribe, member states have received over 230 million barrels of Venezuelan oil at reduced upfront rates.
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