NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered to send thousands of soldiers, firefighters and volunteers to help with the cleanup. He also pledged $1 million in aid plus fuel to help rebuild hard-hit cities like New Orleans.
The offer, swiftly rejected, was part of a larger pattern: Chavez's repeated attempts to provide humanitarian relief to low-income and distressed U.S. families. Despite those efforts, he was never able to foster his image as a savior of the American poor like he did in Venezuela. More often, he was accused of orchestrating politically motivated ploys that in the end helped relatively few Americans.