Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hillary at the Haiti Donors Conference

Today Hillary called on the international community to commit dollars and manpower to help Haiti recover from a year of hurricanes and food riots.

She arrived was met by an unidentified greeter as she arrives for the Haiti Donors Conference at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington.

She spoke to a group of more than 40 nations and international organizations gathered for a donor's conference for the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. She said:

It is our task to open the door of opportunity for Haitians and send a message of what could occur...

On a personal note, my husband and I went to Haiti for the first time shortly after we were married, so we have a deep commitment to Haiti and the people of Haiti. Our homes are filled with art from Haiti. We have friends who hail from Haiti.

But it is not only my personal concern that brings me here today. On behalf of the United States, we are here because Haiti is a neighbor and a friend."

She also pledged $57 million in U.S. aid to boost Haitian security, build roads, create jobs, fight drug trafficking and help Haiti with food shortages and debt caused by the global economic crisis and several devastating hurricanes. Hillary said that the U.S. is already providing nearly $290 million in non-emergency aid to Haiti this year.

She also called for international aid a global "test of resolve and commitment to Haiti." She Warned that the tiny nation of 9 million people "is on the brink of either moving forward with the help of the collective community or falling back,"

"today Haiti is the poorest nation in our hemisphere, with one of our region’s biggest gaps between the haves and the have-nots," she said. It has the highest unemployment rate in the Western Hemisphere, with 70% of the population without jobs. A million more youth will be coming into the work force over the next five years which will trigger what economists call a "youth Tsunami."

The country also has the highest rate of infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in the region. Remeber Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon traveled last month to Haiti and voiced optimism at Haiti's potential due to political stability and economic growth after decades of chaos.

"This is a breakout moment to help one of the poorest nations lift itself to a future of hope," Bill said. Hillary echoed him today by saying "Time is of extreme importance...If we cannot deliver today and we can't find the means to transform the vision of the future, we will be held collectively responsible for not hearing the millions of voices."

Pierre-Louis detailed a program which the government hopes will to bring Haiti out of poverty and chaos and draw foreign investment, after years of political mismanagement, violence and chaos.

She said the U.S. was creating a charitable organization so Haitian Americans and others could contribute toward Haiti's development. "Now is the time to up our investment in Haiti, because Haiti has a real opportunity to make substantial progress," she said. She also called for investment in Haitian agriculture, clean energy and reforestation.

This speech comes a day before leaving for her trip to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago.

Read Hillary's full remarks here or watch below:


Still4Hill said...

She gave a beautiful presentation of a brilliant plan. She knows her stuff on Haiti. I lived there for ten years, and she is spot on.

Sarah said...

she sure does know her stuff right? thanks for the link!!! im gonna post that video if you dont mind :)

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