Venezuela’s financial support following the 2010 earthquake was a likely motivator for the renaming, but the moniker could serve as a double tribute if inbound tourism from Venezuela increases as a result.
Haiti is naming an airport in the country’s north after the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an official said Thursday.
Cap-Haitien International Airport will now be called the Hugo Chavez International Airport, said Gary Bodeau, a spokesman for Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
The airport’s 17,500-foot runway was repaved in October with a loan from the Venezuelan government.
The repair came just in time for the inauguration of an industrial park in the north that is largely financed by the U.S. government.
Like the U.S., Venezuela has been one of Haiti’s biggest supporters. Venezuela pledged $1.2 billion for Haiti, more than any other country, following the 2010 earthquake but has released just $222 million.
Venezuela’s PetroCaribe fund has also helped Haiti. Haiti has used millions of money from the pact that was created in 2005 to pay for fuel, renovate power stations and develop a social program for the country’s poorest people.
Both Lamothe and President Michel Martelly attended Chavez’s funeral and Martelly left Haiti on Thursday to attend the inauguration of Venezuelan President-elect Nicolas Maduro.
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Photo Credit: Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures as rap singer Rodbexas, right, sings during an event at Teresa Carreno theater in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday March 29, 2012. Ariana Cubillos / AP Photo