Chavez Shifts Gears on Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

ChavezVenezuela President Hugo Chavez has appeared to shift his stance on ethanol this week, at least as it relates to Brazil.

The Associated Press reports that Chavez is only opposed to U.S. plans to increase production of ethanol made from corn.

“We aren’t against biofuels,” Chavez said at a two-day South American energy summit that ended Tuesday. “In fact we want to import ethanol from Brazil.” He said Venezuela needs some 200,000 barrels of ethanol a day to be used as a fuel additive.

Chavez recently criticized an agreement between the United States and Brazil to promote ethanol production, saying that it would lead to starvation. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva disagrees.

“The truth is that biofuel is a way out for the poor countries of the world,” he said. “The problem of food in the world now is not lack of production of food. It’s a lack of income for people to buy food.”

Comments from both leaders came at the conclusion of a South American energy summit this week.

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