Haiti’s Michel Martelly, Joined by Sean Penn, Heads to Venezuela

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Above: Martelly with Vice-Minister Temir Porras and actor Sean Penn

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haitian President Michel Martelly arrived in Caracas Friday for talks with the Venezuelan government and to attend the ALBA summit before he heads to Panama for a similar meeting next week.

Venezuela is currently holding the 11th summit of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas in Caracas, which Martelly has said Haiti could join.

Martelly, who is on a trip to Latin and Central America promoting Haitian interests abroad, is being joined by a number of Haitian cabinet members, along with actor Sean Penn, who was named Haiti’s Ambassador-at-Large last week.

Martelly met Friday with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, with the two heads of state discussing the “necessity” of cooperation between the two countries.

In a three-hour meeting, the two discussed bilateral relations, the “rich” history of ties between Haiti and Venezuela, and Martelly’s plan to turn the city of Jacmel into a major Caribbean tourism destination.

Chavez pledged his full support in helping assist the reconstruction of Haiti, and said the Venezuelan people stood in solidarity with the Haitian people.

Chavez was joined by Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Temir Porras.