Given Washington’s enmity for Hugo Chavez, the ambitious Venezuelan leader, this (“Chavez offers billions in Latin America,” Aug. 26) might inspire the U.S. to respond in kind with its own Latin American aid blitz, which has all but vanished.
Chavez denies that this is a competition, but it might very well turn into one to the benefit of all concerned. If so, this could prove to be a double blessing for the poor. However, two points of caution are warranted. First, as experts rightly point out, Chavez’s plan is based on an ebullient political commitment instead of economic strategy, which may limit its impact. An ideologically-based response on the part of the U.S., however, could be similarly problematic.