CHAVEZ: ALBA Countries to Re-Build Haiti – “Not Going to Let the Gringo Empire Take Over Haiti”

Posted on January 24, 2010

0


WALL STREET JOURNAL
JANUARY 24, 2010, 3:15 P.M. ET.
Venezuela Has Leftist-Led Plans To Help Rebuild Haiti

By Dan Molinski

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES CARACAS (Dow Jones)–Venezuela said Sunday that it and its leftist allies are going to help re-build earthquake-torn Haiti, perhaps challenging similar re-construction plans being largely led by the U.S. and the United Nations.

Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has been critical of the U.S. relief efforts in Haiti ever since shortly after the quake struck Jan. 12, killing some 150,000 people or more.

During his “Hello, President” television program Sunday, Chavez said unilateral efforts by Venezuela to get food, fuel and other supplies to the Haitians have been stymied by the U.S., and he said he’s getting tired of it.

“Venezuela’s humanitarian shipment had to be sent by water then by land through the Dominican Republic because our ships can’t dock at any Haitian port because those that are (in working condition) have been taken by the Yankees,” the president said.

Chavez said his Haiti re-construction plan is for Venezuela, Cuba and other members of the left-leaning regional trade group ALBA to build hospitals and schools and to help develop agriculture projects.

ALBA “is already in Haiti, but now we’re going to make a specific strategic plan for the short- and medium-term,” Chavez said. He said ALBA members would also seek assistance from African nations.

Attempts to reach the Haitian government about Chavez’ plans were unsuccessful.

The Venezuelan leader also Sunday reiterated his accusation that the U.S. is taking advantage of the earthquake to occupy Haiti militarily.

“We’re not going to allow the gringo empire to take over Haiti. We won’t,” said Chavez, who referred to the area surrounding Haiti and the relief efforts as a “battlefield.”

U.S. officials have denied Chavez’ accusations, saying the military and other entities involved in relief efforts are there because the Haitian government asked them to be.

Venezuela has so far sent several tons of food and supplies to Haiti. Its state oil company PDVSA provided 225,000 barrels of fuel.

Alba’s members are Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda.

-By Dan Molinski, Dow Jones Newswires; (58) 414-120-5738; dan.molinski@dowjones.com