Secretary Clinton Meets With Haitian President-Elect Michel Martelly

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 20, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Haitian President-Elect Michel Martelly on April 20, 2011. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:

"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."

You can read the full transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks with President-elect Martelly here.



Caroline D.
Florida, USA
April 21, 2011

Caroline D. in Florida writes:

I understand Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's role, however why did the first question asked regarded Libya and Syria and not Haiti? This meeting was to congratulate President Elect Michel Martelly and not to talk about other countries, but to address questions regarding Haiti and Haiti only. I think that it was inappropriate for the first question, whoever asked the first question, to be about another country.

Mollie O.
Wisconsin, USA
May 13, 2011

Mollie O. in Wisconsin writes:

The US has done a lot to contribute to the relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. What is considered its responsibility to aid in infrastructure strengthening and capacity building? These are projects that would develop Haiti in the long-term but the in the report “Haiti: One Year Later” it usually mentions these tasks as constraints and responsibilities of the Haitian government.

Camila R.
Wisconsin, USA
May 13, 2011

Camila R. in Wisconsin writes:

I am so grateful that a poor country such as Haiti, still recovering from the earthquake 15 months ago and cholera outbreak last October, has demonstrated its ability to achieve democracy with the election of Mr. Michel Martelly. Though the US and other foreign aid programs have done a lot to contribute to the recovery, I believe that these efforts have focused too much on short-term results. What needs to be done now in Haiti is encourage economic and social development through infrastructure and education. Perhaps the implementation of microfinance programs (that has proven successful in other Latin American countries), may aid in employing the 650,000 people still living in camps, or at least inspire and motivate those people to pursue a successful lifestyle.


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