Saturday, 24 November 2007

Chavez and Belarus

Hugo Chávez has kept close relationships with Lukashenko, Europe's last dictator.

Venezuela is paying half of Belarus' gas bill to Russia. Belarus will in exchange export tractors and some other material to Venezuela.
Belarus and Venezuela are also negotiating the export of Belorussian weapons to Venezuela.

Belarus sent in October 2007 oil engineers to Venezuelan oil fields.
The Belorussian government is trying to become less dependent on Russian oil and for that it is trying to explore getting more of its energy from Iran and Venezuela. It has a hard time there: Belarus is landlocked and Venezuela is very far from it, making transport costs and permits extremely difficult.

The Chávez regime has been trying for a long time to control inflation. It has introduced several price controls on many products. Producers and retailers have to sell products such as milk and sugar at established prices that are not profitable. Price controls and a very inefficient currency control have led to continuous shortages.

You can find some information on the milk shortages at Caracas Chronicles blog
In Venezuela you can easily find these days caviar or whiskey in many more supermarkets than in many places in Europe, but you will have a hard time trying to find milk or sugar.
Now Belarus will be exporting milk to Venezuela
As the Belorussian opposition says, the issue is not easy as Belarus itself is having problems of milk shortages. There is some information on that in the Belorussian site Charter 97 (the article is in Russian)

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