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Under a portrait of the late Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, fourth from right, and Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, third from right, preside over 8th Petrocaribe Summit in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Venezuela created Petrocaribe in 2005 to sell fuel to member countries more cheaply and help finance their oil infrastructure projects. Petrocaribe will "shape the establishment of its economic zone" during the summit, Maduro said.
MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Heads of state of Petrocaribe nations have ended a summit in Nicaragua with agreements to promote a regional economic bloc to increase the flow of food and services among member nations.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Saturday that summit participants decided to create working groups in transportation and communications, productive alliances, tourism, trade and commercial facilities to go "beyond the false concepts of free trade."
The idea of creating a trade bloc of Petrocaribe members was brought up in May at a summit in Venezuela.
Petrocaribe is an alliance that many Caribbean states have with Venezuela to receive oil on preferential terms.
Ortega said "with these steps we are attacking extreme poverty, creating a regional brotherhood with a trade zone to confront the problems facing Latin America and the Caribbean."