Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was on the ethanol bandwagon. Until, that is, President Bush jumped aboard. Now, it seems, ethanol is a threat to the poor.
Until just a few weeks ago, the leftist Chávez 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 Luíz Inacio Lula da Silva, both Chávez and his close ally, Fidel Castro, converted to the anti-ethanol camp.
''When you fill a vehicle's tank with ethanol, you are filling it with energy for which land and water enough to feed seven people have been used,'' Chávez said. Instead of food, he said, the land was used to fill ``rich people's cars.''
April 4, 2007
I think what he thinks, but backwards
Quico says: Phil Gunson writes a delicious bit of Chávez debunkery in Tuesday's Miami Herald. Money grafs: