Caracas, November 28, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Haitian counterpart, Jovenal Moise, held bilateral talks in Caracas Monday where they signed fresh agreements in the areas of energy and agriculture.
Known as the Energy and Agriculture Cooperation Agreement, the deal will see Venezuela and Haiti deepen their collaboration in agricultural production as well as in joint infrastructure projects. Further details have yet to be released.
Both leaders also reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to the PetroCaribe program, an initiative created by former President Hugo Chavez Frias which sees Venezuela export oil to Haiti and other Caribbean and Central American nations at 40 percent of the market cost, with the remainder payable via 25-year low interest loans.
The trip marks President Moise’s first visit to Venezuela since taking office in February on behalf of the right-wing “Bald Heads” (PHTK) party. The businessman was elected to office last November to replace fellow PHTK member, Michel Martelly, as president – though the elections were marred by accusations of fraud.
Speaking during a meeting at Miraflores Presidential Palace, the Haitian leader paid tribute to the historic bonds uniting the two countries.
“We have been in permanent partnership since the beginning of our history and we thank the people and the Venezuelan president,” he said, alluding to Haiti’s support for Venezuelan independence leader Simon Bolivar, who subsequently abolished slavery in the South American country.
President Maduro, for his part, pledged his solidarity with the Caribbean island, which has been rocked by severe natural disasters in recent years.
“We will always be together, Haiti and Venezuela. I ratify all of our support, love, and solidarity [for the Haitian people],” he declared.
Under the leadership of Chavez and Maduro, the Venezuelan government has moved to strengthen ties with Haiti in recent years via PetroCaribe and other regional integration initiatives. Nonetheless, bilateral agreements between the two countries have been dogged by reports that the Haitian government has embezzled millions of dollars in Venezuelan aid.
Between 2011 and 2014, Venezuela helped finance 234 projects in Haiti to the tune of US$1.2 billion.