The presence of Iran’s President in Latin America- and the warm welcome he’s received there- has served as a reminder to the US of the hostile alliance that’s maturing on its own doorstep. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, both vocal critics of Washington, have called for a cut in oil production by OPEC members. This to halt a slide in oil prices, which are down 15% over the last year. “We have agreed to strengthen efforts both inside and outside OPEC, with the big oil producers, to protect the price of our raw material.” said a typically belligerent Chavez. The two also said they were ready to spend billions of dollars to help developing oil-producing countries, in order to break US domination.
Ahmadinejad will now visit newly-elected leftist leaders in Nicaragua and Ecuador, who are also keen to reduce Washington’s influence in the region. One concern for private and internationally-owned energy companies: Chavez says he’s to nationalise the entire Venezuelan energy industry.