Haitian Leader Calls Venezuela ‘Most Important’ Partner

    If you ask Haitian President Michel Martelly, there is no more important partner for his country at this point than Venezuela in terms of “direct impact.”

    Martelly spoke with The Associated Press on Dec. 3, following a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders. He was vocal about how grateful the Haitian people is “to President [Hugo] Chavez for helping us from the bottom of his heart.” The summit marked the first meeting between Chavez and Martelly.

    The former singer, who assumed Haiti’s highest position in May 2011, said: “The cooperation with Venezuela is the most important in Haiti right now in terms of impact, direct impact.”

    Venezuela pledged the most aid to Haiti after a devastating earthquake in January 2010, with $1.3 billion. It has so far disbursed $118 million. The United States promised some $100 million less, but has disbursed more, with $172 million.

    Another difference: Martelly noted Venezuelan aid flows better as compared with U.S. aid, with the latter taking more time due to required procedures and controls.

    In the aftermath of the Jan. 12 disaster, Venezuela dispatched thousands of tons of food aid for the affected population. Today, it supplies a large portion of fuel required by Haiti.

    “With such rich support, we can — he can — bring some very important change to Haiti,” Martelly told AP.

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    About the author

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      Eliza Villarino

      Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.