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28366: Sprague (Reply): 28347: Durban (fwd)

Sprague <jebsprague@mac.com>
In response to L.Durban's Corbett 28347.

Haiti to build up an oil reserve?

No, I am not kidding.

Hopefully, the newly elected Haitian government would not have to
earmark any tax funds for "tank farms".  For those who do not know, a
"tank farm", also known as an oil "Installation" or a "Terminal" is
an industrial facility for the storage of oil and/or petrochemical
products and from which these products are usually transported to end
users or further storage facilities.  While cooperation with Brazil
and others on developing sustainable energy is vital (especially in
regards to sugar cane), Haiti could benefit significantly from this
kind of terminal and a steady supply of government regulated cheap oil.

Last week, prior to it being announced that Preval would soon visit
Venezuela, on his weekly radio show "ÿHallo Presidente!",  President
Chavez of Venezuela stated, ""We are going to include Haiti in
Petrocaribe and send it all the fuel it needs. We are also building
STORAGE FACILITIES with a special fund", he said, because many
countries do not have places to store crude oil.  This is from an
April 23, 2006 Sunday BBC Story titled "VENEZUELA'S CHAVEZ TO SIGN
that Chavez speaks of are just the sort of "tank farm" that Haiti
could benefit from.  I am happy to see Preval moving forward on this

Petrocaribe requires that Caribbean countries pay a portion of the
cost of the oil up front but allows them to finance the remainder
through low-interest loans over 25 years.  The lack of fuel in Haiti
has hammered the aging power grid-  so this could provide some short
term relief and help in constructing a long term energy plan for the

Next off in regards to your "impression" after your visit to the Bus
Cooperative's depot yard, where maintenance took place.  The Dignite
bus program was not merely left to rot under the former government as
you surmise from your visit.   While hurting badly from the embargo,
surprisingly it was still  a functioning program due to the fortitude
of Haitian transportation workers -  much like public education,
which had been invested in by the government even under extreme
conditions (and also had many volunteers and functioning schools -
some just homes in poor neighborhoods where literacy classes were
being held - although foreign NGOs choose to work nearly exclusively
with private schools).  The embargo created drastic difficulties upon
the ability of the government programs to get fuel, funding,
mechanical parts needed for repair, etc.  Sasha Kramer, a PhD student
from California, took photos (which I can share with you) that show
the buses clearly sabotaged, with the entire fronts ripped off,
engine rack and all (backed up by a number of local testimonies).
Also, I should point out that today some of these former public
sector bus drivers (and some of those associated with them) are in
hiding or exile, including Benissoit Duclos the former director of
the government-run Conatra bus company.

Wanda Sabir in the SF BAY VIEWS (4/19/06)  writes: "It was during the
last coup d'?tat (2004)  that Duclos had to flee when he saw himself
on TV in an anti-Lavalas film, then heard his name on a right wing
radio station. Just a day after he left his home and went into
hiding, his house was trashed, everything destroyed. Also completely
destroyed were 110 new Haitian Public Transportation Federation
buses, while other buses were vandalized. These buses had been
serving towns across the country."