Posts Tagged ‘Michel Martelly’

I lived and worked in Haiti for a good portion of my adult life when I was a very sure-of-myself thirty-something who knew my fellow Americans very well.  I knew they would never elect a celebrity to the Oval Office. That was 1980 … and they did.

When I lived there, Haiti did not have elections. They had a President for Life. I was reminded of this on my way to and from work twice a day by the huge billboard on the Champs-de-Mars across from the National Palace.  Nobody in Haiti voted for him.  His dying father made him president while he was still in his teens. Nobody in Haiti ever called him “Baby Doc” – ever!  Sometimes American tourists would use the term, and we would gently whisper corrections.  You never knew who might be listening. “But I have freedom of speech,” they insisted. Nope, not there you didn’t.

When I sensed trouble coming in the early 80s, I left. In 1986 Jean-Claude Duvalier was overthrown and also left. Haiti embarked on the long, rocky road to democracy. It was and is very bumpy ride – sort of like a ride on a Haitian tap-tap.

A president was elected, then overthrown by the army and exiled, and then returned again to fulfill his elected term.  N.B. We did not install Aristede, and he was not our “puppet.”  President Clinton 42 merely restored the elected Haitian president to his rightful post.  Just saying because I have heard that allegation.

On January 12, 2010 a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 200,000 people. Colleagues told me, when they heard early estimates of one-tenth that many, that they did not think that toll was possible and must have been an exaggeration.  They did not know Haiti, and they did not know Port-au-Prince.

Our Secretary of State at the time, Hillary Clinton was on the ground in Haiti within days, the first foreign official to arrive.  The President at the time, Réné Préval, met with her at the airport. It would take him 12 additional days to finally show his face on the Champs-de-Mars where thousands of homeless Haitians congregated in a makeshift tent city in front of the collapsed National Palace.  It was an astounding abdication of leadership.

Elections were scheduled for later that year. Once again Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit and met with the three run-off candidates. One of the candidates was a popular performer – a bit of a naughty boy with a distinctive head-style that became shorthand for his candidacy (têt kalé – or “shaved head” meant Martelly during the election season).  Another was a woman with a Sorbonne degree, experience in government, and former First Lady.

Mirlande Manigat was the presidential candidate for the Rally of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP) centre-right party. On October 18, 2010, Dr. Manigat also received the endorsement of the Collectif pour le Renouveau Haïtien (COREH).

Her platform for the presidency includes a focus on education of the youth of Haiti, and lifting the long-standing and restrictive constitutional conditions on dual nationality. She specifically promotes opening government positions for members of the Haitian diaspora. Manigat also aims for a more independent Haitian state, one less reliant upon and subject to foreign governments and NGOs. – Wikipedia

The winner was Michel Martelly with no government credentials or experience.

Martelly’s journey to the presidency is documented in the film Sweet Micky for President which is currently available on demand at Showtime. Given my love for and attachment to Haiti, of course I watched.

I was unprepared, however, for the parallels that emerged between the 2010 Haitian election and the election season we are experiencing.  Our democracy is so much older.  Theirs is like a toddler who runs before he can get walking under control.  I never thought our presidential campaign events could resemble some of the anger and violence that erupt during third world elections.  But then we have to look to the candidates and the way they run their campaigns.  That is where the similarities lie.

Older and wiser now, I know that yes, Americans absolutely will elect a celebrity for reasons perhaps very similar to those for which Haitians elected “Micky” Martelly.  I have learned never to underestimate what Americans will do in the privacy of the voting booth, never to trust what they might do with their precious ballots, never to assume.

Martelly fell into disfavor with the populace. It was probably inevitable.  In January 2015 protesters in the streets angrily demanded his resignation.  He resigned office in February of this year.  We will never know what Mirlande Manigat might have done as the first woman president of Haiti. I doubt that she will ever make another run.  I do know that we have a chance make our decisions based not on celebrity and visibility but rather on issues, plans, and policies.  Strutting and fretting your hour on the stage leads to being heard no more, after all, and ending up just a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.



phone calls

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This chapter is an intensely personal one for me.  Like anyone who has ever lived there, I remember exactly where I was – sitting in my car at an intersection I was at daily on my way home from work – when I heard the news of the earthquake on the radio.  As soon as I heard the magnitude, I knew what the number 7 meant.  I looked at the Getty station on the corner where I was waiting for the green light and imagined it crumbled.  I knew that many buildings I knew, loved, had been in, had lived, studied, and worked in had been destroyed.  I knew that people I cared for, had taught or studied with were gone. I was not prepared for this.
No, I had never been in the National Palace, but like the Getty station I had been next to when I heard the news, it was a building I passed four times daily on my way to and from work at the Haitian-American Institute where I taught English.  That link goes to a whole new building.  The building where I taught was an old mansion on the east end of the Champs-de-Mars on Rue Capois.  Like the National Palace, it had collapsed – probably while evening classes were going on at the busiest time of day there.


original building

On July 4,1942, Haitians and Americans founded a bi-national center to reinforce friendship and cultural ties between their two countries. Located in the heart of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian-American Institute has enjoyed decades of continuous community service and remains faithful to the ideal of its founders.

The Haitian-American Institute itself stands on a landmark site. The original building was the house that once belonged to former Haitian President Elie LESCOT. This building, pictured in the pen and ink drawing at the top of this page, was destroyed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

It is a bi-national center run partially by the State Department.  It’s great to see this grand new facility!

In the old building,  I loved teaching at six in the morning in the classroom on that very top floor.  You could see the city waking up.  I would walk up the many flights of stairs early just to go out on that balcony and watch for a few minutes before the students arrived.  When Dr. Ainslie Minor was director,  as was his position as Cultural Affairs officer at the embassy, he was often on the front steps to greet me and the arriving students prior to the early morning classes.  We all loved him!  He loved the institute and everything about it.  We teachers were disdained by some subsequent directors until Millie McCoo arrived.  She, too, loved the institute, the students, and the teachers.

Passing the palace, on my way to work, I was usually on foot.   I nodded to the guards in the guardhouse every day – several times a day.  I later learned that the police headquarters adjacent to the palace had also crumbled to the ground.  I was in there regularly on my annual trek through the ministries to renew my visas.

All of those ministries were gone.  So were the people in all of them.  All the people in all of those buildings.  My HAI and all of the government buildings.

It was beyond my imagination, much the way the collapse of the twin towers had been on 9/11.  I heard the news only one traffic light away from where, that September morning, I had heard that a plane had flown into One World Trade.

How could it be?  Who could have survived this?  How on earth could my poor, dear Haïti Chérie recover?

As I had over those “green weekends” in June 2009 when the Iranians were protesting their elections, I took to Twitter.  A girl had texted, trapped in rubble beneath a supermarket that I knew.  One where I had shopped.  Many of us continually retweeted her location (and many others).  24 hours later, on the news,  I saw her pulled out alive and well and wept.  The reporter said they had found her from the tweets.

That tarmac, where I had boarded and disembarked so many, many times was the tarmac where Hillary landed only five days after the worst disaster in memory in that country – the very first high foreign official to set foot on Haiti’s shaken soil after the quake.  This was no photo op or campaign junket.  Hillary’s visit was from her heart.  It was dangerous, responsive, and crucial.

That, and much more was in my heart as I started reading this chapter and Hillary’s words about landing at the airport that, when I lived there,  was named for François Duvalier and had undergone a major upgrade just before I left the country for good.



Hillary was in Hawaii on her way to Asia when the quake – that came to be known as “Haitiquake” – occurred.

Hillary Clinton: “… it is Biblical…”

Hillary had to change her plans.  She flew back to D.C. immediately.

Hillary Headed Home to Manage Help For Haiti

She was at the White House the next morning and the pain was in her face … the terrible pain.

I  followed her progress to Haiti partially thanks to Greta Van Susteren who tweeted generously from the plane where she sat beside Andrea Mitchell and less so thanks to the old State Department Twitter that went by the handle “Dipnote,” which, in retrospect,  was not so bad and pretty democratic.

When Hillary landed I thought of her as really and truly “superwoman.”   I am sure the Americans at the airport waiting to be evacuated thought of her that way too – or as an angel of mercy.

She was landing on menacingly shaky ground. People who demand further service from her ought to consider the risks she has already taken, the sacrifices she has already endured,  the time in the air and on sometimes dangerous foreign soil,  away from her family.  When does this “superwoman” get a chance to step back and let someone else take the reins?

Hillary Clinton, Angel of Mercy: Her Press Conference & Details on her trip to stricken Haiti

The guy with the argumentative comment on that post was wrong.  She did come in by military transport, as I had predicted. She brought needed supplies and left the press entourage behind to bring injured Americans out.  The purpose of her visit was to get an agreement from the President of Haiti to allow American military to take over the airport operations so that aid – waiting and blocked – could begin to flow.  Sometimes, in a disaster, you must, judiciously, let one important visitor in for the greater good.  Haiti was no textbook case.  Who knew there was such a thing as a portable airport control tower?  That is what the FAA sent and that would not have happened without Hillary’s intervention and visit, i.e.  sometimes more is more.

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Press Briefing about her trip to Haiti

Hillary Clinton is Wheels down in Haiti (MSNBC)

Video: Hillary Clinton Arriving in Haiti

Hillary to the rescue!

Video: Hillary Clinton Speaks to The Haitian People

Over the course of some of those posts I heard from some aircraft experts that I had misidentified the plane as a C-130, but Hillary, in her book, validates me.  Sometimes it takes years to be validated!  My dad was an aircraft expert, not I.  He built them and knew anything that was in the air that was not flapping its own wings.  But once you have been floating on the Hudson River and seen a C-130 over your head on its way to Newburgh, you know one when you see one.  It’s sort of like the Queen Mary over your head.

Hillary Clinton in Haiti: Some Images From Today

Hillary was accompanied by Cheryl Mills and USAID Director Rajiv Shah (2nd and 1st on the right respectively above).  Cheryl, from what Hillary says, must have been the one who got the “people-finder” set up as well as the text system for sending donations easily from your cell phone.

Rajiv was on the ground at the Champs-de-Mars in front of the collapsed National Palace where it seemed much of the Port-au-Prince population was camping out.  I remember him finding some enterprising young folks who had managed to have two car batteries and one car.  They had set up an enterprise allowing people, for a fee, to charge cell phones off one car battery while another of the crew ran a taxi service to charge the other battery.   It was so Haitian!

Secretary Clinton Announces Launch of State.Gov Person Finder Tool for Those Missing in Haiti

So this is where she starts – on the tarmac which is serving as the seat of government largely because it is flat and open and if you sit in a tent and there is a big aftershock you won’t be crushed.  Most roads were impassable and for the first 48 hours, planes could not land at the airport.


Secretary Clinton’s Daily Appointments Schedule for January 15, 2010

Hillary reminisces at this point about her honeymoon trip to Haiti when she and Bill went to one of Max Beauvoir‘s voudou shows at Le Péristyle in Mariani and saw TonTons Macoutes  (VSN) and Jean-Claude Duvalier en route somewhere.  1975 was the first Christmas that I came back home – well to Florida where my sister was living. –  or maybe I would have met them.

After the earthquake, President Préval told Cheryl Mills that he really needed Hillary and needed her now!  He was Hillary’s friend.  He needed help.  I perceived him as a nice guy, but not as a strong leader.

Hillary Clinton is NOT the President of Haiti!

In retrospect and fairness, and after having had my own house blown apart by Sandy, I have to say that at the time I probably did not appreciate Préval’s state of mind with his house having collapsed before his eyes (and thankfully not over his head) just as he and his wife were about to enter.  With most of his government officials missing or already known dead, the poor guy must have been in deep shock. When you go through something like that having a buddy like Hillary – well – yes, I would call her, too.  If I needed to pull my country together after something like that – yes, I too would call her.  But Hillary also sees that there was a need for him to go out among the people camping on the Champs-de-Mars and everywhere.   Their question/complaint at the time was “Where is our president?”

When you run for the office, before you even win, you need to consider this kind of situation and how you will react – even if you did just miss having your house fall on top of you.  That is the role you assume as leader of a country.

Try to imagine the White House or the Capitol this way.  This is what happened to Haiti.

When Hillary arrived,  injured Americans were being cared for by a devoted embassy nurse who worked non-stop.  Our Cultural Affairs officer, Victoria DeLong,  had been killed when her house collapsed on her.  I had been in that house several times on very happy occasions.  Dr. Ainslie Minor and his lovely wife, and later Millie McCoo had generously invited the teachers to barbeques and parties.  I had danced the merengue under that roof and met Millie’s sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.,  there.  Now that roof had killed a Foreign Service officer.

There was a massive and effective U.S. response. Hillary remarks that U.S. military felt so refreshed at being welcomed somewhere.

One year we had no electricity from the last night of Carnaval in early February until about mid-June.  The lights went out when Carnaval ended at midnight. From then on sectors got one hour of electricity a day on a rotating weekly basis.  If you needed to do anything that required power, you needed to be home at your hour for that week.  If you were working at that time … too bad.  From Boutillier, the mountaintop above the city, you could see a sector darken and another light up on a clockwork schedule.

Then the United States Marines arrived with generators and I don’t know what all else.  I would be leaving my early morning classes at the institute (we taught from 6 -9 a.m. and from 3 – 6 p.m. or 4 – 7 p.m.) and they would be on the steps of the Hotel Plaza waiting to be picked up.  We cheered them every time we passed them.  “Thank you!”  Our electricity was returning.  Nice that after the earthquake the troops got the same reception.  We have a sort of edgy relationship with Haiti as far as troops go. Americans built the best roads there – during the occupation.

In this case, the distrust engendered by the history of the occupation could have been Préval’s political enemy.  Yet to unblock the shipments of aid at the airport and seaports someone needed to be in charge – not to take over the country – just to lubricate the flow of aid.  Hillary got Préval to sign an agreement that U.S. military would, temporarily in the emergency,  administer the airport and seaports.

Hillary Clinton is Wheels Up!

The plan was to establish camps.  Préval worried that putting displaced people in camps would make camps permanent.  The U.N. contended that camps provided the best efficiency for necessary distribution of aid.

To my mind, and this is just me, the camps were newer, safer, cleaner than the neightborhoods some people had come from,  like Cité Soliel, but many were not from those slums, so there was something to be said on each side of the argument.

For Haiti, the approach would involve both short-term aid and long-term plans for development that had already been in the incubator.

Bill Clinton Arrives on Mission to Haiti (CBS/AP)

On-the-Record Briefing on Consular Services Being Provided to American Citizens in Haiti and in the United States in the Aftermath of the Earthquake

U.S. Government Response to the Haiti Earthquake

Secretary Clinton’s Update on Haiti

The outpouring of support and assistance from around the world has been extraordinary, and I’ve been very proud to see generous Americans from every corner of our country open their hearts in solidarity with the Haitian people. These are the times when we remember our common humanity, when we pull together across cultures and borders to help those suffering and in need.

Hilary Rodham Clinton

Secretary Clinton at the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti 01.25.2010

Today, Secretary Clinton announced that she will run an International Haiti Donors Conference in March at the U.N. You may remember her words at the Haiti Donors Conference last April in D.C. That speech was simply spot-on.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks to Haiti Earthquake Volunteers

From U.S. Department of State: Some Details on the Upcoming International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

We have had over 140 nations working to support the Government of Haiti in delivering food, temporary shelter, and medical care to thousands of survivors. But the emergency relief is only the beginning of what will be a long road to recovery, as the Secretary General just pointed out; one that will require global support.

Some people wonder, “Why Haiti? Why this great outpouring of international humanitarian concern and commitment to Haiti’s future? Why is Haiti’s fate of such consequence to the region and the world that it deserves sustained help? Why should we hope that this time, with our collective assistance, Haiti can achieve a better future?” These are questions that deserve answers and I believe that this conference will begin to do so…

Before the earthquake, Haiti was on a path to progress. The government, led by President Preval, had started enacting critical reforms. Haiti’s economy grew by nearly 3 percent last year. Two international chains launched new hotels, a sign of a rising tourism industry. New factories were opening and others had been contracted to begin production. But with the earthquake, the results of much of this hard work were wiped away. But the people of Haiti never gave up. As they mourn their losses, they gathered the resources they had left and began working around the clock to put their lives and their country back together. They relied on the strength and the spirit that have carried them through tough times before. But they need our help. They cannot succeed without the support of the global community, and we need Haiti to succeed. What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders.

Hillary sees development as a key component in national security and USAID as an essential agency which played a huge role in addressing long-term plans to assist Haiti.  She recounts the war against USAID waged by Jesse Helms and celebrates this initiative which she and Rajiv Shah initiated in 2011 and she proudly saw launched earlier this year.

Hillary Clinton at U.S. Global Development Lab Inauguration

A year after the earthquake, Hillary returned to see the progress of the response (including to the subsequent cholera epidemic) and met with the presidential candidates.   There remained many challenges but things looked greatly improved.

Hillary Clinton in Haiti

“Shifting our focus from aid to development … The United States was not abandoning traditional aid … especially as part of an emergency response … we sought to break the cycle of dependence that aid can create …. Aid chases need; investment chases opportunity.” (Hard Choices)

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at the Caracol Industrial Park Opening Ceremony in Haiti (with Bill Clinton!)

She recounts a personal moment with Préval after the disputed elections and credits him for being the exemplar – the first in Haitian history – to turn over the reins of leadership peacefully to  a successor not of his backing but chosen by the people.  When she speaks of the toughness of democracy, the danger of the running and the peril of the vote,  my memory rewinds to the Aristede election when Haitians literally risked their lives at the polling places and some were, in fact attacked and killed just for trying to vote.  This time, indeed, there was progress, and despite everything Préval might not have been, he, maybe, is their John Adams in some ways.

These images of the former and current presidents, Préval and Martelly, celebrating at the Caracol opening together were historic.

Rene Preval And Michel Martelly At Caracol Industrial Park Inauguration

Haiti - Politic : Martelly gives the brace to René Préval (speech)

In the book,  Hillary provides a thorough and fair accounting of what has worked and what has not in the aftermath of this disaster.  Shortly after she returned to the department following her health crisis in late 2012, this report was issued.

Haiti Three Years After: What Hillary Clinton’s State Department Has Done

Helping other nations build, profit, and rise among the economic powers on the globe is to everyone’s advantage, Hillary posits.  Especially our own.  In the case of Haiti’s disaster, the U.S. was, it cannot be disputed, the indispensable nation, but we were certainly not alone in the aid or in the investment, and that, Hillary points out, makes all the difference.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



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Secretary Clinton to Travel to Haiti


Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 19, 2012



Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to northern Haiti on October 22. This marks the Secretary’s first trip to the North of Haiti. She will highlight leveraging of diplomacy by the Department in support of innovative USAID development models, which focus on partnering with the Government of Haiti, international partners, the private sector and non-governmental organizations to catalyze economic development.

The Secretary will deliver remarks on “A New Day in Haiti” at the formal opening of Caracol Industrial Park, showcasing the region’s achievements in agri-business, energy, light manufacturing, tourism and artisan crafts. She will also visit a nearby housing site that is under construction, as well as a recently-completed power plant that will supply electricity to the industrial park and nearby areas. While in Haiti, the Secretary will meet with President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, local and national elected officials, investors, and community members. Secretary Clinton will be accompanied by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

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As you know from the prior post, Secretary Clinton met today with Haitian President-Elect Michel Martelly. She even spoke a little Haitian Creole! Later, she participated in “Conversations of Diplomacy” with Henry Kissinger and moderated by Charlie Rose.

At the time the State Department released the information about the Charlie Rose event, it was not exactly clear that this event would air.

A similar event with HRC and Kissinger did not, but this one will on PBS tonight! So check your local listings!


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Remarks With Haitian President-Elect Michel Martelly After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 20, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to welcome the President-elect to the State Department on behalf of the United States Government, and to formally congratulate President-elect Martelly on his victory in the election.

I also congratulate the people of Haiti on the election. It not only affirmed and strengthened the foundations of Haiti’s democracy; it also helped shine light on the work that has been done and the work that still has to be done to recover from the damage of the earthquake and firmly set Haiti on a path to long-term stability and development. And perhaps most importantly, this election offered the people of Haiti an opportunity to give voice to their dreams for their country’s future. And now it will be up to Mr. Martelly and his government to do everything in their power to help achieve those dreams.

This election comes at a critical moment. In the 15 months since the earthquake, there has been progress in important areas. Twenty percent of the rubble, more than 2 million cubic meters, has been cleared, and that was through a program that employed more than 350,000 people that the United States was proud to support. A new industrial park near Cap Haitien, through a joint effort by the Government of Haiti, the United States, and the Inter-American Development Bank has been created. It has its first tenant, the global textile firm Sae-A, which alone is projected to create 20,000 permanent export-oriented jobs. And we expect more companies to be drawn to Haiti because of a very important piece of legislation passed by Congress last year called the Haiti Economic Lift Program, the HELP program, which significantly increased U.S. trade preferences for exports of apparel from Haiti. We also want to acknowledge the successful response by the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population and the international community to curtail the cholera epidemic.

Now these are successes that deserve to be celebrated, but we also know that there is a lot that lies ahead for the new president, for the government, and the people of Haiti. Still, there’s a lot of rubble to be cleared. There are still 650,000 people living in camps. The hurricane season is once again approaching. We want to do everything we can to be a good partner for Haiti as it takes steps that it must take, making it easier, for example, to transfer ownership of state-owned land for affordable housing, to streamline the process for registering new businesses, getting construction permits approved, attracting investment and encouraging growth. We also know that the prisons in Haiti are overcrowded. Eighty percent of those detained have yet to face trial. Updating criminal codes, processing the backlog of demands, and implementing other judicial reforms will go a long way toward creating a functioning and more humane justice system.

We know this takes leadership, which we have seen Mr. Martelly exhibit in his very vigorous campaign. We know it takes political will, which we know he has, a commitment to transparency and good governance, and to getting results for people. I am very encouraged by the campaign that Mr. Martelly ran, his emphasis on the people and their needs, his willingness to be very clear in what he hoped to achieve on their behalf, and now he has a chance to lead. And we are behind him. We have a great deal of enthusiasm. This is not only a goal of our foreign policy, but it is a personal priority for me, my husband, and many of us here in Washington.

Now some of you may know that Mr. Martelly’s campaign slogan was “Tet Kale.” Now I’m told the literal translation of that slogan is “Baldhead,” which doesn’t need any further explanation. (Laughter.) But “Tet Kale” is also an expression that means “All the way.” And the people of Haiti may have a long road ahead of them, but as they walk it, the United States will be with you all the way. Thank you, sir. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT-ELECT MARTELLY: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I would like to thank especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having hosted me and my team. This is the second time that we meet since your visit in Haiti. I would like to extend my thanks to the Obama Administration and to the President himself. Once again, the elections of November and March demonstrated the fierce determination of the Haitian people to build its own democracy.

Now, it is up to me to transform my campaign promises into an action plan. Clearly, I have huge challenges in front of me, but I intend to meet them. In spite of the generous donations of the American citizens, which have reached $1.2 billion received by 53 NGOs, and in spite of the donation by the Government of the United States of $1.5 billion, we still have 1.7 million people who still live under tents after 15 long months of waiting. The cholera epidemic, if it is not contained and if Haitians are not vaccinated, this epidemic threatens to extend itself to the entire country during the upcoming rainy and hurricane season. In addition, starting on June 1st, the country will have to confront up to 16 hurricanes scheduled – anticipated next summer. The reconstruction process is despairingly slow.

These were the complaints that were expressed by a desperate population throughout my election campaign. This is why recovering and restarting the economy is a fundamental necessity for my government. This is why I plan on working relentlessly towards 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.

Madam Secretary of State, I am truly counting on you to ensure that this restructuring of foreign aid be truly effective for Haiti. Bilateral cooperation also involves fighting against drugs and corruption, respect for human rights, the establishment of the rule of law, the increased and necessary role of our Diaspora community, TPS, deportees, good governance, recovering agriculture at a special moment where worldwide prices are drastically increasing, and the establishment of a climate favorable for potential and future investors. Our discussions focused on the urgent need to ensure that the aid will be effective for our citizens and to avoid waste.

Finally, I discussed with the Secretary of State President Barack Obama’s offer to create a partnership with Haiti. My new vision for my country is to engage in all of the useful and necessary reforms to ensure that Haiti will be a full member of the modernity of the 21st century.

Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your very warm welcome. (Applause.)

MR. TONER: We have time for just a couple questions, first one to Jill from CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Secretary. On Libya, you, it was announced today, have decided to recommend the provision to the President – recommend nonlethal aid for the opposition. Why did you decide to do that, and why now? Isn’t this really a tacit admission that right now, this situation is a stalemate and you, in effect, must do this for an opposition that is incapable of doing it itself?

And then just a quick one on Syria – the emergency law is lifted, the killings go on. Where are we going with this? Isn’t it – the situation now going backwards? What just happened?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, first with respect to Libya, we are moving to authorize up to $25 million in nonlethal commodities and services to support the Transitional National Council and our efforts to protect civilians and the civilian populated areas that are under threat of attack from their own government in Libya. Now the $25 million in goods and services will be drawn down from items already in government stocks that correspond with the needs that we have heard from the Transitional National Council. As you know, we have our special representative Chris Stevens in Benghazi, as well as a USAID team. They have been meeting continuously with representatives there as to what is required in order to support their needs and protect civilians.

Now some of the items are medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear, radios, halal meals. There are no new purchases. This is not a blank check. But this action is consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which among other actions, authorized member states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas. The Department of State and the Department of Defense are working closely together with other partner nations in order to coordinate on what kind of nonlethal assistance is most necessary, and who among the international community can provide which goods and services.

Now, I think it’s important to point out that this opposition, which has held its own against a brutal assault by the Qadhafi forces, was not an organized militia. It was not a group that had been planning to oppose the rule of Qadhafi for years. It was a spontaneous response within the context of the broader Arab spring. These are mostly businesspeople, students, lawyers, doctors, professors, who have very bravely moved to defend their communities and to call for an end to the regime in Libya, and we are going to continue to take actions consistent with UN authorization to try to fulfill the international commitment.

Now with respect to Syria, we strongly condemn the ongoing violence committed against peaceful protestors by the Syrian Government. We also condemn any use of violence by protestors. We have been consistent, ever since the events of the last months have begun and have continued, that we are calling for an end to violence, we’re calling for peaceful protests, and a political process that can respond to the legitimate needs, interests, and aspirations of the people of the region. And we regret the loss of life and extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of all of the victims.

We are particularly concerned about the situation in Homs, where multiple reports suggest violence and casualties among both civilians and government personnel. It is difficult to independently confirm these accounts because journalists are not being allowed free access to many of these areas. The Syrian Government must allow free movement and free access; it must stop the arbitrary arrests, detentions, and torture of prisoners; and it must cease the violence and begin a serious political process through concrete actions to demonstrate its responsiveness to the legitimate issues that have been raised by the Syrian people seeking substantial and lasting reform.

MR. TONER: From the Miami Herald.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you for taking the questions. This is for both the Secretary of State and the President-elect. One of the points of contention for the Haitian Government has been very interested in getting U.S. aid, direct aid, to the Haitian Government, and I was wondering if that was talked about, and also if there was any talk during your talk of – the President-elect has suggested some sort of a Haitian military group restarting, and if there was talk of that.

PRESIDENT-ELECT MARTELLY: (Via interpreter) With respect to the first part of your question, I would say that American aid has been coming to my country for decades now in various forms, via USAID or through other structures. We talked about various projects, projects that are underway, projects that are on the verge of completion. And I also talked about my priorities, the priorities that I emphasized during my campaign, which were education, relocation of the people who were living under the tents and, of course, restarting agriculture. So those are some of the priorities that I emphasized during my campaign.

As to the second part of your question, I would say that right now, MINUSTAH is the country, is in Haiti. It is playing an important role. It is safeguarding the peace, maintaining peace in the country. So when the time will come to consider a rebuilding of a new force, we will talk about those issues in a timely fashion.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I would only add to what the President-elect has said, that the United States has pledged not only a partnership, but one where we look to assist him in achieving his priorities for the people of his country. We have also suggested that we can work with the large international and NGO community together so that everyone is committed to pursuing in a transparent, open way the priorities that the President-elect has determined will make the biggest difference in the lives of Haitians. He is committed to results, he wants to deliver for the Haitian people, and we are committed to helping him do so.

Thank you all, very much.

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