Venezuelan president arrives in Haiti for official visit

HAVANA, Mar 12, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Haitian capital Port au Prince on Monday for a 24-hour visit.

According to reports reaching here, Chavez was welcomed at the Toussaint Louverture Airport by his Haitian counterpart Rene Preval and Foreign Minister Reynal Clerisme.

Crowds cheered Chavez and shouted slogans criticizing U.S. President, George W. Bush, who is on a five-nation Latin American tour, which began last Thursday in Brazil and will end on Wednesday in Mexico.

During his visit to Haiti, Chavez will talk to Preval about social projects to benefit Haiti and also the possible Venezuelan sponsorship to build a new landing strip in Haiti.

On March 5, Venezuela announced the creation of a 20 million U.S. dollar fund for projects covering health, education, food, energy and basic services in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Americas.

Chavez began his own tour of the region last Friday, covering Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Haiti, seeking to limit the influence of Bush's visit to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.