Pres. Zelaya to Head Petrocaribe

Posted on March 6, 2010

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The Associated Press March 6, 2010, 3:12PM ET

Ousted former Honduran leader to head Petrocaribe

 CARACAS, Venezuela

Ousted former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is taking on a new role: leading an energy consortium allowing poor Caribbean and Central American nations to buy oil on preferential terms from Venezuela.

Zelaya accepted the invitation from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a strong ally both before and after Zelaya was removed from office in a coup last June. Zelaya has been taking refuge in the Dominican Republic.

The ex-president told Venezuelan state television Saturday that he will use his new job to “strengthen the democratic process” in Latin America, but provided no other details.

Chavez has used his country’s oil wealth and his vision of a united continent free of “U.S. imperialists” to cultivate a leadership role beyond Venezuela.