Within the reverberation of continuous artillery salutes, the Venezuelan navy training ship Simon Bolívar arrived on Wednesday at the port of Havana as part of its voyage to celebrate the 10th anniversary of PetroCaribe, the regional agreement of energy cooperation.
The ship will be in Cuba until Sunday, and its crew is scheduled to meet government officials and visit places of historic and cultural interest.
The voyage also aims to train the staff members and encourage them to carry out exchanges and field performance with their counterparts from the visited countries.
Also called “Ambassador without FrontiersBorders,” the vessel is on its 27th cruise connecting the PetroCaribe member countries. PetroCaribe, a trade program created by Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez to keep the region dependent on Venezuela for oil.
Simon Bolívar has already visited Barbados and Belize before its arrival in Havana. After its stay in Cuba, it will leave for Jamaica and return to Venezuela on July 24.
Caribbean governments began signing up to PetroCaribe in 2005 as a spike in oil prices sent energy and car-fuel costs soaring.
Venezuela, which created the program as part of an effort to counter the United States’ influence in the region, provides oil and refined products such as diesel at market prices, but it requires member countries to pay only a small portion of the cost up front, this allows them to finance the rest under generous long-term debt agreements, as well as to barter for agricultural products or services.