From the Venezuelan Embassy in London
Immediately after the earthquake in Haiti, the British and Irish media were quick to point out that Venezuela was the biggest creditor of Haiti’s foreign debt (US $295 million). However, hardly anyone in the British and Irish media has yet reported that Venezuela wrote off Haiti’s debt on the 25th of January 2010.
Moreover, BBC News Online even published an article entitled G7 nations pledge debt relief for quake-hit Haiti, which stated that: “Venezuela and Taiwan are the country’s [Haiti’s] biggest creditors”. Yet the BBC published this piece on Sunday 7 February, two weeks after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had cancelled this debt.
The Venezuelan Embassy in London contacted the office of BBC News in London and urged them to rectify the mistake.
A few minutes after the phone call, the sentence on Venezuela had been removed from the article, which can still be read on line: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8502567.stm
The Venezuelan Ambassador in London, Samuel Moncada, also sent a letter to the BBC, which explained Venezuelan aid to Haiti as well as the origins of this debt and how it was finally expunged.
The BBC has not yet published this letter.
Similarly, last week The Irish Times also made the same mistake in its editorial article of 27th of January, but they published the Venezuelan Ambassador’s letter two days later.
Haiti’s debt to Venezuela was US $295 million, which was mainly due to Venezuela as payment for the oil supplied to Haiti under Venezuela’s preferential oil pricing scheme through Petrocaribe, a continental programme funded by Venezuela to help alleviate poverty in the region and to aid member nations to overcome the problems of high oil prices and the volatility of such prices.