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Pro-poor, not anti-U.S.

August 13, 2007

Re "Chavez brings oil diplomacy to neighbors," Aug. 8

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may be trying to win friendships, as all governments do in their diplomatic relations, but he is doing so in the context of a deeper commitment to alleviating poverty in Latin America.

This humanistic undertaking is on display in Venezuela, where poverty has fallen under Chavez, and it is the underlying intent of regional integration projects spearheaded by Venezuela, such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. This project aims to reduce inequalities and raise the standard of living in the hemisphere.

A recent donation of $3.3 million to community organizations in New York's South Bronx by the Venezuelan-owned gas company Citgo is a testament to that broader effort. A tour of the region by Chavez may highlight his desire to create alliances for Venezuela, but the tour is pro-poor, not anti-U.S.

Megan Morrissey

Media Analyst

Venezuela Information

Office, Washington

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