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Venezuela oil fund members wrap up Haiti meeting

September 8, 2013

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Caribbean and Latin American countries belonging to Venezuela’s Petrocaribe oil fund have wrapped up a two-day conference discussing a new economic bloc.

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez oversaw the creation of Petrocaribe with the aim of countering U.S. influence and unifying the regional oil industry with Venezuela at the helm. It provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year in long-term, low-interest loans and in deeply discounted oil to its 18 members in the region.

The group on Saturday did not immediately release specific details about the meetings, which were held in private.

Petrocaribe aid is especially popular in impoverished Haiti, which depends heavily on foreign aid. Haitian officials favor the Venezuelan money because it goes straight into the state coffers, instead of to private contractors or relief groups.

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