Submit Your Questions for January 10 Discussion on the Way Forward in Haiti

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 7, 2011
Conversations With America -- Haiti in 2011 Replay

Update: Watch the video replay of the webcast here.

On Monday, January 10, 2011, Haiti Special Coordinator Thomas Adams and InterAction President & CEO Sam Worthington will hold a discussion on "Haiti in 2011: The Way Forward." The discussion will be moderated by Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. The event will be streamed live on state.gov and DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 10:30 a.m. (EST). You will have the opportunity to participate through the submission of questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. You can submit your questions now, here on DipNote, in the comments section to this blog post.

In the "Conversations with America" video series, the State Department's senior leadership hold discussions live, online, with government officials and leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. You can learn more about U.S. diplomacy and Haiti here. You can learn more about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti here.

Comments

Comments

Natalie T.
|
Minnesota, USA
January 7, 2011

Natalie T. in Minnesota writes:

How is the current housing situation for the homeless in Haiti?

Idris k.
|
Sudan
January 7, 2011

Idris K. in Sudan writes:

Why there's no political stability in Haiti and people suffereing illness and lack of food

Patti G.
|
New York, USA
January 7, 2011

Patti G. in New York writes:

I was just in PAP last week and the conditions on the ground raised many questions. Please provide a specific status update on US expenditures on relief in Haiti and the plan for future expenditures from committed funds. How is the transition/lack thereof in Haitian government impacting relief efforts?

John E.
|
Georgia, USA
January 7, 2011

John E. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

Our organization, AidWEST, has experienced slowdowns and stoppages in our humanitarian deliveries and the suffering in Haiti is worsened because of this. We have more materials to deliver but cannot pay the exorbitant bribes demanded at the ports, since we are a non-profit, so the boxes sit in Atlanta. How can the US State Department and the diplomatic staffers call to task the political leaders in Haiti for the continued corruption in delivering materials through the ports and airport? All we hear in the media is denials, but the proof is evident every hour, every day.

Stephanie D.
|
New York, USA
January 7, 2011

Stephanie D. in New York writes:

What is being done to combat the epidemic of rape in the camps???

William62
|
California, USA
January 7, 2011

William in California writes:

Thank you for the great platform to express grassroots opinion.

Getting the Haitian people (and for that matter, all persons looking for a better future) involved in helping them help themselves achieve successful MDG outcomes by 2015 will require a new way of doing business that this administration has been trying to promote.

Will you be able to work with the new congress and the American people to do a better job of explaining the positive sides of the globalization process, especially how private sector entrepreneurship could better be involved?

johanna H.
|
California, USA
January 7, 2011

Johanna H. in California writes:

It appears we've been wasting valuable resources in Haiti doing things the wrong way. Most Haitians do not feel the US approved elections were truly democratic, reconstruction plans only benefit a small group of people (original IHRC Action Plan only favored by 17.5% of Haitians according to an Oxfam poll), and the UN stabilization mission should be building roads and dams instead of holding guns. Who then is really benefiting from US foreign policy in Haiti? Isn't it time for the US to view Haiti differently, given the failures of the past and the tremendous needs of the present?

Patricia M.
|
Virginia, USA
January 8, 2011

Patricia M. in Virginia writes:

The Haitian side of Hispaniola has been stripped of vegetation to make charcoal for cooking fires. Haiti like the rest of the countries in the Caribbean is blessed with abundant sunshine for more than 300 days per year.

Several organizations and individuals are working in Haiti to teach people how to manufacture and use solar cookers including: DC celebrity chef Jose Andres; Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International; volunteers from Solar Bruecke in Germany--who are teaching Haitians to build large parabolic solar reflectors (for use by schools and health centers) which allow the cooks to bake, boil and fry with solar power inside clean, smoke-free kitchens; and Solar Cookers International, which is distributing thousands of Cookits (the least expensive solar cooker on the market) to displaced Haitians. LPG is not a sustainable solution. It will keep Haiti poor and dependent on foreign aid for ever. We need to help the Haitians tap into their most abundant, accessible and free resource for cooking--the sun.

Why is the U.S. government planning to subsidize the import and distribution of bottled cooking gas to destitute Haitians who will never be able to afford this increasingly expensive commodity in the future without massive market distorting subsidies?

Patricia M. (Senior Foreign Service Officer, Retired)

Katleen F.
|
Florida, USA
January 8, 2011

Katleen F. in Florida writes:

I am looking forward to attend this conference call and hear about your views on Haiti situation on year later.

katleen F.
|
Florida, USA
January 8, 2011

Katleen F. in Florida writes:

I am looking forward to attend this conference call and hear about your views on Haiti situation on year later. I work with Haitian Hometown Association and the Diaspora. They do feel excluded in this reconstruction process. Please give us insights on how you plan to engage the Diaspora in the reconstruction process. So far it has been a financial earthquake for them because they are supporting family and friends with money that they don't have. It is a bad economic conjoncture and the diaspora has been struggling to be the Haiti wellfare system.

Paul S.
|
Ohio, USA
January 8, 2011

Paul S. in Ohio writes:

Thank you for the opportunity to seek a redress of grievances; a more responsive government is the first of many steps in moving America into the global era.

Why does it always seem like no one has a blessed clue as to how things like this should be handled? Is there really not one person with a job description that includes having good ideas? How about effective implementation? Any government that impedes aid to its people cedes its sovereignty in so doing, and it is about time we started acting like it.

Ron B.
|
Canada
January 8, 2011

Ron B. in Canada writes:

The US Dept of State contributes an enormous amount of resources to relieve the suffering of the Haitian people. There is also some institutional framework's consideration to develop programs and projects to carry the Department's stated objectives. Given that the ultimate goals shall address needs and hopeful expectations of these communities...

Q- IS THE USAID/US_DPT_OF_STATE OPENED TO THE IDEA OF ALLOCATING A MINOR PORTION OF ITS BUDGET FOR UNSOLICITED PROPOSALS IN ORDER TO SUPPORT PROJECT DELIVERY?

It is assumed that these proposals shall support USAID's immediate and mid-term goals in the country.

Lance
|
Haiti
January 8, 2011

Lance in Haiti writes:

Haiti is fully competitive with China in terms of daily minimum wage, and the U.S. government should be encouraging permanent, sustainable employment in Haiti... in recognition of the fact that NO U.S. jobs are lost to Haiti, the wage differential between the U.S. and Haiti being so enormous. That said...

Our company, Manutech is the only electronics manufacturer in Haiti. We've been producing electronic components in Haiti continuously since 1983. We employ 500+ Haitian nationals working in an overcrowded building where the landlord is trying to triple the rent to take advantage of the post-earthquake shortage of factory-size buildings.

So, here's the deal: We have a $1.2 million project to acquire land and build a new factory building to accomodate 1000+ employees. We will supply $700,000 and USAID or any other international donor will supply $500,000 in the form of a straight-forward challenge grant. That is, our challenge is to create 500 new permanent jobs in Haiti within 36 months from the date of the grant. In the event that less than 500 new jobs are created a pro-rated portion of the grant will be returned to the grantor. The cost per permanent job created will be exactly $1000.

Half a million dollars can be squandered in an instant in studies, make work schemes, more studies, institution building boondoggles, more studies, etc. etc. What Haiti needs most is sustainable employment opportunities for its citizens. Provide that, and everything else will fall in place. Let's talk!

Elaine
|
New York, USA
January 8, 2011

Elaine in New York writes:

In "the way forward" for Haiti and the Haitian people, first the epidemic of cholera must be addressed,and the outbreak contained. What mechanisms do you have in place now and going "forward" in this regard? How will the Haitian people be involved?

Martine T.
|
Florida, USA
January 8, 2011

Martine T. in Florida writes:

We have been swimming in mistrust and mayhem for too long. It's tiem to recognize the formula doesnt work. Why don't we begin a sincere and open dialogue with the Haitian Diaspora which is one part of the solution to rebuild Haiti?

Taking time and resources to inventory the vast array of talented individuals in the Diaspora, the retired professionals and the now available professionals would have the effect of building a task force led by Haitians for Haitians (worked in the past for other countries)to plan but also to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a multitude of short and long term projects that would gradually turn Haiti around... Given the right frame, Haitians can produce wonders with even less resources than we have now available... I am a person of haitian descent who, like thousands I know, wants to be part of the solution.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 8, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Is there anything more that could have been done to alleviate suffering and disease outbreak in the aftermath of the earthquake?

I think it is a question that both State and USAID are also naturally asking themselves in context to the QDDR's basic question of "How can we do better?"

This is not to imply that every effort was not made at the time, but posed,..accepting that there's always room for improvement and coordination in crisis situations with regards to the level of anticipation and preparedness in any critical undertaking requiring immediate response and ongoing follow-through.

Thanks for taking our questions.

Jerome B.
|
Michigan, USA
January 8, 2011

Jerome B. in Michigan writes:

I strongly support the United States Government's effort in helping to rebuild Haiti! At least it's an honest effort!

Lucille F.
|
New York, USA
January 9, 2011

Lucille F. in New York writes:

I was reading that housing and cleanup are two very serious issues post earthquake Haiti. On the other side - even in my rural area here in Upstate NY - I can name at least 3 or 4 small building contractors that are starving for work. Is there a way to combine:

A. the SBA loan program (or perhaps also loan/mortgage/debt forgiveness program similar to what Americorps offers - for qualified contractors - and others who need work and are willing to go to Haiti),

B: visa clearances, etc;

C: partner real estate investors here and in Haiti. Even without land title, rents can still be split among partners in a business. Also real estate investors can help with planning neighborhoods and the business infrastructure of new communities; and

D: building contractors and others in need of work in our own country.

I feel combining these four diverse groups will facilitate bringing the necessary skill sets to Haiti in order to accelerate relief of the housing shortage; and also create investment and other financial opportunities that will open up both economies.

My second question is related to the impasse between NGO's and the Haitian government - to the point where desperatly needed good and supplies remain undelivered. I read a few weeks ago that Cuban medic teams seem to be doing far better than other groups... something that it would seem cannot happen without their capacity to gain full access to medical supplies being shipped in. I was wondering if it is possible to find a way to reach into Cuba to find out how they are getting past the logjam. Also - perhaps we can begin to work on improving our relationship with Cuba by working towards the common goal of humanitarian relief in Cuba.

Randy
|
California, USA
January 9, 2011

Randy in California writes:

Decentralization - what steps are being taken to diffuse both work places, offices AND population away from the capital? Can you give us a timeline, and a where and a what and for whom? Do you agree that, if NGOs and GOH ministries were to move on out to other province locales (e.g., Les Cayes, Jeremie, St. Marc...Jakmel, Au Kap), this would incentivize others, and businesses, to do the same?

Randy
|
California, USA
January 9, 2011

Randy in California writes:

PEACE CORPS TO HAITI? When? As probably many Haitian-American youth will be interested, will there be a policy (in this case) to enable them to work/volunteer with the Peace Corps in Haiti, or will the usual arbitrary placement policy be maintained?

Katie
|
Virginia, USA
January 9, 2011

Katie in Virginia writes:

How effective has the Haiti Debt Relief and Earthquake Recovery Act of 2010 been? Should we be writing to our representatives in Congress for more action on this? What would you recommend?

Bonnie
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 9, 2011

Bonnie in Washington, DC writes:

1. Why do visas seems to be awarded arbitrarily?

2. What resources are available to small grass-roots programs having huge impact?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 9, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Assist Sec. PJ Crowley, Thomas Adams, Sam Worthington,

Gentlemen,

I thought I'd submit a follow-up question as well here to help you'all define the way forward, as hard as it may be to answer.

"If this isn't nation building, what do you call it?"

Your thoughts on this would I think be in the public interest and this curious mind would love to know.

Thanks,

EJ

Nicolas R.
|
New York, USA
January 9, 2011

Nicolas R. in New York writes:

Hi Gentlemen,

This forum is a great idea. Thank you!

Three very important questions for american taxpayers.

1) Why did you fund an election that excludes one of the major political parties (fanmi Lavalas) in Haiti? How is the current non inclusive election help stabilize Haiti on the long term and is political instability not the main reason why donors have hard times actually disburse the money they pledged?

2) What is the position of the current US State departement now about Aristide's return to Haiti? Would the US allow that to happen. Or would you prefer him to stay in SA? When would you allow him to travel outside SA?

3) In your view should the exile of political leaders in Haiti be encouraged or discouraged?

Thank you for your time!

Suzanne C.
|
Oregon, USA
January 10, 2011

Suzanne C. in Oregon writes:

Through the Church of God, I donated some toward Haiti's recovery. Are churches, schools, homes, and businesses being reconstructed? Blessings.

Tonya
|
Pennsylvania, USA
January 10, 2011

Tonya in Pennsylvania writes:

Why are there so few Haitians interviewed and included in the discussions on Haiti? There are many events going on this week and Haitian were added as an afterthought.

Laura R.
|
Haiti
January 10, 2011

Laura R. in Haiti writes:

There are a plethora of local community based organizations in Haiti that range from the rural peasant organizations to associations of professionals. Despite their unique position to respond to the demands specific to the communities where they are based and vested interest in pursuing sustainable projects with low overhead they are excluded from accessing the funds for Haitian development. The IHRC must create an avenue for these Haitian organizations to apply to use these funds.

.

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