Honduras, a longtime ally of the United States in Central America, says a lack of international support to tackle chronic poverty has forced it to seek aid from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Honduras joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, an alliance of leftist leaders in Latin America headed by Chavez, a staunch U.S. foe. President Manuel Zelaya, a logging magnate seen as a moderate liberal, told Reuters that oil-rich Venezuela's offer to double international aid to the country, one of the poorest in Latin America, is unrivaled.
Chavez, a self-styled socialist who wants to build up opposition to U.S. influence in Latin America by offering oil and cash to poor countries, pledged $400 million a year in aid to tiny Honduras. Zelaya told a cheering crowd that Honduras would have energy security "for the next 100 years."
Honduras still hosts U.S. troops at one of its military bases. "Our decades-long relationship of dominance by the United States has not benefited all Hondurans," Zelaya said.