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Venezuela Forgives Haiti's Debt to PetroCaribe

The Venezuelan Minister of People´s Power for Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduros, said on Wednesday that the country was officially forgiving the $395 million debt that had Haiti with PetroCaribe, the energy cooperation agreement sponsored by Venezuela that offers a secure energy supply at preferential financing rates to 17 Caribbean countries, including Haiti.

The minister made the announcement at the end of the “World Summit for the Future of Haiti: Solidarity Beyond the Crisis” held in Dominican Republic with the participation of representatives of 50 countries.

"We're delivering today, and finally, to President Rene Preval (Haiti), the certificate of the cancellation of the accumulated debt to PetroCaribe of $395 million, of which $198 million is available in a fund created for the support of  projects in health and education," said Maduro.

The debt forgiveness was announced by President Hugo Chavez during the Emergency Meeting of the Political Council of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), held in Caracas in January 2010. The meeting aimed to develop strategies for reconstruction of Haiti.

"Haiti has no debt with Venezuela. It’s the contrary. Venezuela has a historical debt to that nation, for this country. We do not feel pity but admiration, and share their faith, their hope," said President Chavez on that occasion.

The foreign minister confirmed on Wednesday that the Venezuelan government and the ALBA countries have maintained aid to Haiti in areas such as health, education and housing. The summit was aimed to follow up on agreements made by the international community at the Donors Conference on Haiti, which was held at the UN headquarters in New York on March 31.

Ministry of People´s Power for Foreign Affairs, Press and Communications Office of the Embassy of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States / June 3, 2010

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