On February 5, 2016, the Executive and Legislative authorities in Haiti reached an agreement to ensure the continuity of governance and the completion of the ongoing electoral process. Following that important agreement, the United States Haiti Special Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary Kenneth Merten undertook a series of trips -- including to Ottawa, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, Miami, Brasilia, Paris, and Brussels -- to review multilateral efforts in support of strengthened democratic institutions and processes in Haiti.
This goal was prominent in each of the meetings held during the Ambassador's six-city tour -- which occurred leading up to the conclusion of the electoral process in Haiti. From February through April, Haiti Special Coordinator Merten met with senior government officials and other international partners who engage with the United States on a range of shared priorities, as well as members of the Haitian diaspora community and the media. Here are some interesting photos from the Special Coordinator’s travel and meetings with a wide range of leaders who, like the United States, are also committed to a democratic electoral process in Haiti.
Haiti Special Coordinator Merten kicked off his trip by speaking on Radio-Canada’s “L’heure du monde” (The Hour of the World) with journalist Dorothée Giroux in Ottawa, Canada. They talked about bilateral U.S.-Canada cooperation on advancing democracy in Haiti and Haiti’s roadmap toward completion of the electoral cycle. The United States and Canada cooperate in Haiti on security, United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, political engagement, financial technical assistance, and health. The two countries have also worked together on harmonizing Haiti’s community policing model. [State Department Photo]
While in Ottawa, Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten also met with Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas, David Morrison (right), on February 25. They discussed our bilateral cooperation in Haiti on security, United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, political engagement, financial technical assistance, and health issues. [State Department Photo]
On March 4, 2016, the Special Coordinator headed to New York, where -- in coordination with the U.S. Mission to the UN -- he had an informative meeting with UN Permanent Representative Elbio Rosselli and his team from Uruguay to discuss the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). [USUN Photo/Sean McKenzie]
Haiti Special Coordinator Merten also met with with Chilean UN Permanent Representative Cristián Barros Melet and his delegation while at the United Nations in New York. Chile is a MINUSTAH troop-contributing country. Since 2010, MINUSTAH has been working to support recovery, reconstruction, and stability efforts in Haiti in addition to its original mandate. [USUN Photo by Sean McKenzie]
On March 9, the Special Coordinator headed to Miami for a round of meetings with diaspora and the media. This photo shows Farah Larrieux, TV host of “Haiti Journal” at WPBT Channel 2 (Florida) and member of the Haitian-American diaspora, with Haiti Special Coordinator Merten after an interview thatprovided an inside look at United States’ multilateral engagement in Haiti. As one of Haiti’s close international partners, the role of the United States is to support and strengthen democracy in Haiti. For Haiti’s many challenges, fully functioning and legitimate democratic institutions will facilitate and make the work of the United States and other international partners to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for Haitians more sustainable. [Media Hub of the Americas Photo]
March 22 through 23, Haiti Special Coordinator Merten traveled to Brasilia, Brazil, where he met with Minister Antonio Alves Jr., who covers Central America and the Caribbean at the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations. The Government of Brazil contributes to peacekeeping, institution-building, and support for Haitian migrants in Brazil. [U.S. Embassy Brasilia Photo]
U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Liliana Ayalde (center) hosted a dinner for Haiti Special Coordinator Merten, Haitian Ambassador to Brazil Madsen Cherubin (center right), officials of the U.S. Embassy, and officials of the Embassy of Haiti in Brasilia. The visit highlighted the important role that the Government of Brazil has played in Haiti, including significant commitments to peacekeeping, institution-building, and support for Haitian migrants in Brazil. As partners in Haiti’s future development, officials from the Brazilian Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Development Program also exchanged views with Special Coordinator Merten during his two-day visit. [U.S. Embassy Brasilia Photo]
In early April, Haiti Special Coordinator Merten met with diplomats from the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels to discuss the importance of the United States’ continued multilateral coordination with the European Union on Haiti. This photo shows the April 4 meeting attendees -- (left to right) Political Counselor for the U.S. Mission to the European Union Michael DeTar; Coordinator Merten; Political Program Specialist for the U.S. Mission to the European Union, Irina Angelescu; EEAS Managing Director for the Americas Ms. Edita Hrdá; EEAS Head of Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Aldo Dell’Ariccia; EEAS Deputy Managing Director for the Americas Roland Schaefer (across from HSC Merten); EEAS Deputy Head of Division, Relations with the Caribbean, Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Fernando Ponz Cantó – during their meeting. [U.S.-European Media Hub]
While in Brussels, Haiti Special Coordinator Merten and Political Program Specialist for the U.S. Mission to the European Union, Irina Angelescu, chatted outside EEAS, the European Union’s diplomatic service headquarters, in Brussels. Underscoring the importance of cooperation between the United States and the European Union, Coordinator Merten explained: “We have a long history of cooperation on Haiti, not only in supporting the importance of democracy in Haiti but also in terms of helping Haiti develop and reach a status of economic and social development where it really can stand on its own feet and determine its own destiny. The U.S. and the EU both are very active as two of the main donors in Haiti to try and help Haiti develop economically and socially, to help build institutions that ultimately will better serve the Haitian people in line with Haitian democracy so that really over time it is the Haitian state that is really helping meet the Haitian people’s needs.” [U.S.-European Media Hub]
Haiti Special Coordinator Merten in front of the EEAS. During his visit to Paris and Brussels, April 1-5, Haiti Special Coordinator Merten furthered transatlantic cooperation between the U.S. Government, the Government of France, and the European Union in their efforts toward strengthening democracy, security, and improving economic opportunity in Haiti. Merten: “I came to Brussels to meet with European Union Officials … to discuss our cooperation on Haiti. We have a long history of cooperation on Haiti, not only in supporting the importance of democracy in Haiti but also in terms of helping Haiti develop and reach a status of economic and social development where it can really stand on its own feet and determine its own destiny. The U.S. and the EU both are very active as two of the main donors in Haiti to try and help Haiti develop economically and socially, to help build institutions that ultimately will better serve the Haitian people in line with Haitian democracy so that really over time it is the Haitian state that is really helping meet the Haitians’ peoples needs.” [U.S.-European Media Hub]
The United States continues to work with Haiti and its international partners throughout the electoral process to support credible elections that lead to a new democratically elected government in Haiti. We look forward to the implementation of all provisions of the February 5 political accord and seating of a new democratically-elected president, as quickly as possible, so that the government can work together with Haiti’s partners to rapidly address the challenges facing the country.
About the Author: Judith Ravin serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.