Clinton Says U.S. Will Continue To Back Haiti’s Quake Recovery After Meeting With Haitian President-Elect

After meeting with Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. would back Haiti’s efforts to recover from the January 2010 earthquake “all the way,” VOA News reports. “Martelly is in Washington for key meetings in advance of his May 14 inauguration,” the news service notes (Gollust, 4/20).

In prepared remarks, “Clinton outlined … the daunting task awaiting Haiti’s incoming president: 650,000 in camps, a rubble-strewn capital, a broken judicial system and the looming hurricane season,” the Associated Press reports. After congratulating Martelly, Clinton said Haiti’s recovery requires effective leadership. “Now he has a chance to lead and we are behind him,” Clinton said. “He is committed to results. He wants to deliver for the Haitian people. And we are committed to helping him do so,” she added.

Martelly emphasized the importance of tackling Haiti’s cholera epidemic and warned that the hurricane season could further spread the disease. “He said he spoke with Clinton about his three priorities: education, finding homes for people living in tents and restarting Haiti’s agricultural sector” (4/20). He “said he planned to work relentlessly toward the reconstruction of the framework of international aid, to give new life to the business sector, and to develop the capabilities of government institutions and of civil society,” RTT News reports (4/21). Despite significant aid from the U.S. and private organizations, the recovery process is “despairingly slow,” Martelly said, VOA News writes. “These were the complaints that were expressed by a desperate population throughout my election campaign,” he said. “This is why recovery and restarting the economy is a fundamental necessity for my government” (4/20).

“In an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, Martelly said a top priority was to relocate the hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims still living in tents,” the newspaper reports. “He said he planned to impose a five-cent tax on phone calls into Haiti to raise money for reconstruction and would also have access to $260 million in debt payments forgiven by foreign lenders. But he gave few specifics about how he would quicken a process that has bogged down over land disputes, a lack of skilled Haitian bureaucrats and problems with coordination,” the Washington Post writes (Sheridan, 4/20).

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