Haiti, got a much-needed hand from its neighbors on March 12, when Cuban and Venezuelan officials signed an aid package with President Rene Preval. An accord worth somewhere between US$20 million and US$120 million depending on how the accounting is done was signed by Preval, President Hugo Chavez, and Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo. Additional money, perhaps as much as US$1 billion, has been reported in some press accounts, but Venezuelan sources have not verified that, and there are indications the information may be false. The aid is destined for the most essential of Haiti's needs--health, education, economy, and energy. For Chavez, "The essential part of this strategy is the incorporation of Haiti into ALBA [Alternativa Bolivariana para los pueblos de America]." Haiti joins Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and prospective members Nicaragua and Ecuador in the organization Chavez created to offer an alternative to the neoliberal policies currently dominating the region, policies whose cornerstone is privatization of state entities and whose keystone is free-trade agreements.
NotiCen. "HAITI GETS HELP FROM VENEZUELA AND CUBA; PRESIDENT RENE PREVAL MUST TREAD LIGHTLY TO KEEP U.S. IN LINE." (2007). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/la_energy_notien/3