WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Central American and Caribbean leaders to move toward more integrated and diversified sources of energy ahead of the Energy Summit on Wednesday at the U.S. State Department in Washington.
“We have to keep pushing forward – together with our partners in the Caribbean and Central America – to integrate and expand energy markets, to bolster transmission capacity and to diversify into cleaner sources of energy,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden chairs the Energy Summit among the U.S., Caribbean and Central America, an event where senior representatives of the regions meet to discuss environmental security and sustainability.
The summit aims to help the region reduce its dependence on Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program.
“We just have to harness that momentum into progress toward sustainable energy security in our region that will endure when volatile oil prices inevitably rise,” the U.S. vice president said.
The summit is being attended by the presidents of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela; Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez; El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren; and Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, as well as senior representatives of other countries in the regions.
During his visit to Havana in March, President Barack Obama also invited Cuba to participate in the summit, but the Cuban government has not publicly said if any representative will attend.
In 2015, Biden convened the first Caribbean Energy Security Summit.
This year, the event included the Central American region and is expected to release a final report on the energy challenges in both regions and possible steps to address them.