Colombia guarantees fuel as Venezuela ends pact

Aug 21--Colombia's government said Thursday it would guarantee gasoline supply to a northeastern border state - although at a price 76 percent higher than before - after Venezuela announced it will end cut-rate shipments.

21 de agosto de 2009

Hernan Martinez, Colombia's mines and energy minister, told Caracol radio that Venezuela "unfortunately did not renew" the deal to supply subsidized fuel to Norte de Santander state.
"We hope that this situation with Venezuela doesn't last our entire lives," Martinez said. He added that Colombia has enough fuel to guarantee supply.

Venezuela's government announced Wednesday that it had no intention of renewing the yearlong contract that expired Tuesday, citing tensions over a pending agreement that would give U.S. troops expanded access to Colombian military bases.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called the agreement a threat to the entire region and his government in particular, while Colombian and U.S. officials say it would give U.S. forces access to seven Colombian military bases as they continue helping Colombia confront drug traffickers and leftist rebels.

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