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Posted May 05, 2003 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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HAVANA (AP) _ Venezuela’s oil exports to Cuba have returned to normal after disruptions during a two-month strike in Venezuela, the Venezuelan ambassador here said.

“Exports of oil and derived products have been normal for two weeks,” Julio Montes told reporters on Friday.

A general strike that collapsed in February paralyzed Venezuela’s oil industry and brought exports to a near halt. Venezuela’s government says output is now back to normal at more than 3 million barrels a day.

Venezuela has a pact to sell Cuba 53,000 barrels a day under preferential financial terms _ providing one-third of the island’s oil imports. Montes said Cuba was making payments on its US$144 million debt in the deal. He added the debt was being refinanced but did not elaborate.

During his four years in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has forged strong ties with Fidel Castro’s government. Under another cooperation deal, more than 3,600 Venezuelans have traveled to Cuba for free medical treatment since 2000, Montes said. He said Cuba has spent at least US$120 million treating the Venezuelans.

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