Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 Bill Clinton pledges love for Haiti, promises help. Eske se politik?

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Nombre de messages : 8250
Localisation : Canada
Opinion politique : Indépendance totale
Loisirs : Arts et Musique, Pale Ayisien
Date d'inscription : 02/03/2007

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Bill Clinton pledges love for Haiti, promises help. Eske se politik? Empty
MessageSujet: Bill Clinton pledges love for Haiti, promises help. Eske se politik?   Bill Clinton pledges love for Haiti, promises help. Eske se politik? EmptyMer 11 Mar 2009 - 13:14

Bill Clinton pledges love for Haiti, promises help

BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
Former President Bill Clinton's love for Haiti and its people was renewed this week as he saw for himself the hope that the country offers despite its grinding poverty, history of political upheavals and other ongoing challenges.

''I have followed Haiti for more than three decades. This is the first time I have really believed that the country has the chance to slip the bounds of poverty, and escape the heritage of oppressive government and misgovernment and abuse of people that have held people down too long,'' Clinton said Tuesday, wrapping up a visit to the Caribbean nation.

``The message I want to send to the rest of the world is what the man in the factory, the factory owner told me today: These people work hard and they work smart...tell the world Haiti is a good place to invest.''

As he walked through a T-shirt factory he helped make possible when he visited Haiti as president in 1995, Clinton was immediately greeted with a crush of applause. Poor factory workers whose earnings depend on how many T-shirts they stitch in a day, stopped their sewing machines and stood to their feet clapping. As he walked past their work station, they rushed to shake his hands.

For the workers, the welcome wasn't just because this was the American president who restored democracy to Haiti when he returned deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1994 following a military coup. He also was the person who had made their jobs possible.

Among those who had joined Clinton on his 1995 visit were representatives of Sara Lee, now Hanes brand. They returned after Clinton left, and created thousands of jobs that still exist today -- 1,500 of them in the factory Clinton toured.

Those jobs have since been further strengthened with the passing of the duty-free HOPE legislation, passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by Clinton's predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

In an exclusive interview with The Miami Herald afterward, Clinton said that while he was moved by the warm reception, it was the fact that the factory was still standing, and Hanes still operating in Haiti, that moved him.

''They wouldn't be there after all the upheavals of the last 13 years, political and natural, if the Haitian people weren't committed to hard work, smart work, to building a more modern future,'' Clinton said.

It is this message Clinton hopes to convey to U.S. companies and others on the world stage as part of an effort launched here this week by the United Nations to help Haiti break the cycle of poverty and instability through job creation.

''From Haiti, we can deliver good news,'' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said before leaving the Caribbean nation Tuesday. ``Yes, Haiti still remains desperately poor and it has yet to recover fully from last year's destructive hurricanes. Yet we can report what President [René] Préval told us last night during dinner, saying that Haiti is at a turning point.''

Both Clinton and Ban pledged their support in swaying foreign donors and corporations to help Haiti, while also proding Préval and the government to take advantage of the ``limited window of opportunity.''

''I fell in love with it 35 years ago when Hillary and I came here,'' Clinton said. ``I think I understand what it's shortcomings have been but I've always believed most of its problems were not as some people suggested, cultural, mystical, all that sort of stuff.

''I think they were subject to misgovernment,'' he said. ``They were either oppressed or neglected and they never had the benefits of consistently being rewarded for effort in education, in agriculture, in industry, in any area.''

Clinton has pledged to use his Clinton Global Initiative, which meets at the opening of the UN General Assembly in September every year and attracts business people from all around the world and the United States to talk about what he's seen in Haiti.

He's also pledged to tout the country's potential -- and needs -- ahead of next month's donor's conference in Washington, D.C.

Haiti is seeking billions of dollars to reduce poverty over the next three years here, but immediately needs $125 million to plug a budget shortfall created after high food and fuel prices last year triggered violent riots and government paralysis.

The shocks were then followed by four storms that hit Haiti in rapid succession, killing nearly 800 people and creating nearly $1 billion in damage.




© 2009 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
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