Oil talks expected during Mexican foreign minister’s visit to Jamaica

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Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray

(Jamaica Gleaner) A trip by Mexico’s foreign minister to Jamaica next month is being positioned by foreign media as the latest development in US-led pressure on the Nicolas Maduro administration in Venezuela.

A report by Reuters news agency says Maduro retains loyalty from some Caribbean nations that have long benefited from Caracas’ generosity in relation to oil have been unwilling to shun the country in regional diplomatic efforts.

But the news service is reporting that Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray will travel to Jamaica and other Caribbean nations next month as part of efforts to erode Venezuela’s oil-based influence in the Caribbean.

It says Mexico has been looking at the possibility of replacing Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program that provided cheap loans for oil to Caribbean nations.

Reuters said it was told by Jamaica’s minister of foreign affairs that talks on oil are a possibility since Jamaica already purchases crude from Mexico.

Johnson Smith said she had invited Videgaray to Jamaica last October and they decided his visit should coincide with a regional conference of the US Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), due to be held in Jamaica on March 5-8.

Videgaray’s trip follows a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean earlier this month by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who announced plans to study how possible oil sanctions against Venezuela could be mitigated in the Caribbean