CARACAS – President Hugo Chavez signed a $2 billion contribution from Venezuela to a binational fund with China, which laid out $4 billion for the project, at an event partially broadcast by state television.
“That’s $6 billion for the central railroad system,” which will use a total of $711 million from that fund, and for a metro line in Caracas, which will receive another $350 million, Chavez said during a meeting with members of the administration, lawmakers and some mayors transmitted by VTV.
Chavez appeared once again on television showing evidence that he has gained weight after the two operations he underwent on June 10 and June 20 in Cuba, the latter to remove a cancerous tumor.
The president returned to the country last Monday after spending a month abroad, most of it in Cuba, where he underwent surgery and received treatment for cancer.
The approval of “this new tranche” of funding is “another success for our foreign policy ... completely independent of multilateral credit entities,” Chavez said regarding the finance program agreed to between Caracas and Beijing years ago to undertake Venezuelan projects.
Venezuela will pay China for those resources with petroleum shipments, Chavez said.
“It’s not true that we’re giving it, we’re selling it and at the market price,” the president said.
Venezuela currently exports about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of petroleum to China, with the goal being to up the flow of crude to 1 million bpd in three years.
Chavez signed the document on Saturday during halftime of the soccer match between Venezuela and Ecuador, the other South American member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, a game played within the Copa America 2011 competition.