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Lunes 30 de Abril de 2012 12:13

Haiti: Con­gress­woman Waters Urges State Depart­ment to Use U.S. Influ­ence to Avoid Chaos in Haiti

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HAiti
by Chris Celius 

Wash­ing­ton – Con­gress­woman Max­ine Waters (D-CA), a strong advo­cate for the Hait­ian peo­ple in the U.S. Con­gress, sent a let­ter to Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton dated April 24, 2012, express­ing grave con­cern about the cur­rent polit­i­cal cri­sis in Haiti.  Con­gress­woman Bar­bara Lee (D-CA), Con­gress­woman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), and Con­gress­man John Cony­ers (D-MI) also signed the Congresswoman’s let­ter.  The text of the let­ter follows:

“As con­gres­sional friends of the peo­ple of Haiti, we have been observ­ing the recent polit­i­cal cri­sis in that coun­try with grave concern.

“The sud­den and unex­pected res­ig­na­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Garry Conille is a cause for seri­ous con­cern.  We had the oppor­tu­nity to meet with him on sev­eral occa­sions, includ­ing while he was in Wash­ing­ton, DC, on Feb­ru­ary 9th.  We believed he was ideal for the job.  He appeared to be very hard-working and ded­i­cated to the peo­ple of Haiti.  He was work­ing hard to develop pro­duc­tive rela­tion­ships with Pres­i­dent Michel Martelly and mem­bers of the Hait­ian Par­lia­ment.  We sup­ported his efforts to improve trans­parency as it relates to gov­ern­ment con­tracts and other impor­tant gov­ern­ment business.

“Prior to his res­ig­na­tion, there were rumors that his life had been threat­ened.  We urged him to share this infor­ma­tion with the U.S. State Depart­ment.  Unfor­tu­nately, less than one month after we met with him, he resigned.  Prime Min­is­ter Conille’s res­ig­na­tion does not speak well for Haiti.

“We are also con­cerned about the deci­sion to drop all charges against Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duva­lier for human rights vio­la­tions com­mit­ted dur­ing his fifteen-year reign.  We sus­pect that this deci­sion is an attempt to exon­er­ate him and rein­te­grate him into Hait­ian soci­ety.  We are espe­cially con­cerned that his reha­bil­i­ta­tion appar­ently has the sup­port of Pres­i­dent Martelly.  What does this mean?  Is there a cred­i­ble, inde­pen­dent jus­tice sys­tem in Haiti at this time?

“We are fur­ther con­cerned by the rumors that for­mer Pres­i­dent Jean-Bertrand Aris­tide may be arrested based on trumped-up cor­rup­tion charges.  These rumors could be an indi­ca­tion that Pres­i­dent Aristide’s life is in dan­ger.  Is this true?  Is Pres­i­dent Aristide’s life in dan­ger?  Pres­i­dent Aris­tide con­tin­ues to have sub­stan­tial and wide­spread sup­port in Haiti.  If any harm should come to him, it would cause tur­moil and dis­rup­tion in Haiti.  Fur­ther­more, the out­cry and dis­rup­tion would only serve to set Haiti back, dis­cour­age invest­ment, and cre­ate yet another cri­sis in this trou­bled country.

“The United States played an impor­tant role in resolv­ing the issues sur­round­ing Haiti’s last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.  Our action’s helped posi­tion Pres­i­dent Michel Martelly to emerge from the Novem­ber 2010 elec­tion as the strongest can­di­date, thus enabling him to win the runoff elec­tion the fol­low­ing spring.  While some of us may have ques­tioned the role the United States played in the elec­tions, once the elec­tion took place, many of us vowed to give sup­port to the new pres­i­dent and do every­thing we can to assist him in address­ing Haiti’s urgent needs for hous­ing, cholera treat­ment, infra­struc­ture, and job cre­ation.  Just as the United States accepted respon­si­bil­ity for the cri­sis over the elec­tion, we have great hope that the United States will accept respon­si­bil­ity for the polit­i­cal cri­sis Haiti is fac­ing now.

“An espe­cially wor­ri­some devel­op­ment is the unof­fi­cial reestab­lish­ment of the army.  Prior to his elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Martelly sup­ported the reestab­lish­ment of the army, despite the fact that it is known pri­mar­ily among the Hait­ian peo­ple for its gross vio­la­tions of human rights.  The inter­na­tional com­mu­nity appears to agree that there should be no fund­ing or sup­port for the reestab­lish­ment of the army at this time.  How­ever, it appears that the army is being orga­nized on an unof­fi­cial basis.  Old police sta­tions have been taken over by for­mer mem­bers and sup­port­ers of the army and the bru­tal ton­ton macoutes para­mil­i­tary force, and these indi­vid­u­als are con­duct­ing train­ing exer­cises through­out Haiti.

“We rec­og­nize that Haiti is a sov­er­eign nation and has the right to develop its own laws and poli­cies.  How­ever, the Amer­i­can peo­ple have been very sup­port­ive of Haiti since the earth­quake, and the United States has taken a lead­ing role in sup­port­ing democ­racy and recon­struc­tion.  The United States Con­gress pro­vided emer­gency sup­ple­men­tal appro­pri­a­tions for relief efforts and passed leg­is­la­tion to can­cel Haiti’s mul­ti­lat­eral debts.  We can­not sit by idly and watch while cur­rent events under­mine our efforts.

“We respect­fully urge you to estab­lish a com­mis­sion to over­see Haiti’s polit­i­cal devel­op­ment.  Fur­ther­more, we urge you to work with the Martelly admin­is­tra­tion, the Hait­ian Par­lia­ment, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of civil soci­ety in Haiti to ensure that human rights are respected, demo­c­ra­tic progress is not reversed, and polit­i­cal insta­bil­ity and chaos are not allowed to inter­fere with Haiti’s devel­op­ment.  Finally, we urge you to keep us informed about the work of this com­mis­sion and polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in Haiti.  Sta­ble, effec­tive gov­er­nance is crit­i­cal for Haiti’s future.”

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