Sunday, April 19, 2009

Travel: Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Haiti

Well, this was a busy weekend for Hillary as well as for me! I've been eager to sit down and take a look at Secretary Clinton's trip to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago!


Upon her arrival in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Secretary Clinton met with Haitian president René Preval at the palace, to deal with "topics of joint interest that include stability, security and aid."

During their press conference she said:

"It is a pleasure to be back in Haiti. As the president said, this country holds a special place in my heart. I first came here as a newlywed with my husband, Bill, and we spent a wonderful time here exploring the country and meeting many Haitians who shared their homes and their experiences with us.

In fact, we bought some Haitian art, five paintings that have traveled with us in every house we have lived in, including the White House. And I was honored to come back as First Lady after the restoration of democracy in Haiti, and then I was deeply privileged to be the senator from New York, which has a large and thriving Haitian American community.

And I’m delighted to be here as Secretary of State on behalf of President Obama and myself at this critical moment in the history of our nations, our hemisphere, and the world...

Haiti and the United States share a history of friendship that dates back to the beginning of our nation. In fact, Haiti’s revolt against slavery was an inspiration to people in our own country until we finally also ended slavery. Today, we are connected by many ties, from economic to social and cultural, to the many people we share in common – proud Haitians who live in the United States, many who travel back and forth to this beautiful country and who contribute so much to each of us."

Read their full remarks as well as questions from Reuters, NYT and other press here!

Secretary Clinton spent six productive hours on the ground in Port-au-Prince. After press conference at the Palace, Secretary Clinton visited a medical clinic operated by doctors and other medical personal from the U.S. Navy hospital ship COMFORT in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.

The COMFORT is on a ten-day visit to Haiti during which it is providing free medical care (including surgery) to thousands of Haitians who seldom have an opportunity to see a doctor. The Secretary toured the clinic, greeted patients, and thanked the U.S. Navy doctors and the many civilian volunteers for their outstanding work.

After the clinic visit, she was off to the Inter-American Woven Garment factory, beneficiary of the U.S. Congress’s “Haitian Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement” (HOPE) II Act of 2008.

HOPE II aims at promoting a market-based economy in Haiti, increasing employment, enhancing the rule of law, eliminating barriers to U.S. trade, combating corruption, and protecting internationally recognized human and worker rights. The garment factory that the Secretary visited is among the early success stories of HOPE I and II legislation, which facilitates public-private sector partnerships and has already resulted in the creation of approximately 11,000 jobs in Haiti.

The State Department reports that there was the inevitable press scrum and real sense of excitement at the factory – taking them a few minutes to organize the reporters and happy onlookers as Secretary Clinton did her tour. Watch a choppy video from the State Department on Hillary's arrival, meeting with the Haitian President as well as her visit to the factory here!


Jackie said...

She looks good, love the red lipstick. She is the best diplomat for our country.

Anonymous said...

Hey, "increasing employment, enhancing the rule of law, eliminating barriers to U.S. trade, combating corruption, and protecting internationally recognized human and worker rights"?
The US is the prime country to be doing this right? You'd know about offshoring jobs, you have no corruption in your political system, you just love offloading your goods on poor countries, and by golly, you sure know about human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, right?

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