Venezuela's Perez would revise Cuba oil deal

Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:46pm GMT

* Opposition target Chavez's preferential energy deals

* Polls show agreements unpopular with many Venezuelans

By Diego Ore

CARACAS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - A leading opposition candidate hoping to challenge Venezuela's Hugo Chavez at next year's presidential election would revise preferential oil deals with Cuba and other Central American nations if he wins.

Pablo Perez, governor of the oil-rich western state of Zulia, is one of three front-runners who will take part in an opposition primary in February to pick a unity candidate to take on Chavez at the main vote in October. [ID:nN1E7A00MM]

Chavez has closely allied himself and his socialist "revolution" with communist-led Cuba.

"Venezuela is losing $8 billion (a year) because of gifts that are given out by the government. With that money we can generate 1.1 million jobs," Perez told Reuters this week after a walking tour of Caracas's upmarket Chacao district.

The 42-year-old lawyer did not elaborate, but the opposition frequently bash what they say are overly-generous oil deals that the Chavez government has made with political allies including Cuba and some Central American states.

If an opposition candidate defeats Chavez next year and ends the former soldier's 13 years in power, they would all be expected to review these deals. The majority of the agreements are unpopular with Venezuelans, according to opinion polls.   Continued...

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