MIAMI, July 6 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may be motivated by more than charity to provide massive amounts of aid to earthquake-stricken Haiti, a political expert says.
Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, says the Venezuelan leader is interested in exporting his brand of 21st century socialism and aid is a key component in his arsenal, The Miami Herald reports.
"His aid has a very strong political component," Shifter says.
Venezuela has built electricity plants, open-air markets, homes and healthcare clinics in Haiti while facing inflation and food shortages at home.
Venezuela was the first nation to respond to Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake, landing a military plane with food and medical students the very next morning.
Two weeks later, Venezuela became the first country to forgive Haiti's foreign debt.
At an international donors conference in March, Venezuela pledged $2.4 billion for Haiti's relief efforts, twice as much as the United States.