Below is an article from the Miami Herald about Haitian American youth who increasingly want to make a difference for Haiti, not through politics but through service. An increasing number of Haitians and Friends of Haiti believe now is the time to implement a modest program through which Haitian American college students and/or graduates can serve in Haiti with an emphasis on teaching computer skills, environmental conservation, best practices in education, and English instruction. Haiti needs its Diaspora, not just its remittances, but its active engagement. Such a program would help instill a sense of committment among future leaders in the Haitian American community. We endorse the idea wholeheartedly.
Trenton Daniel of the Miami Herald describes below the speech given by Bill Clinton at the second annual Haiti Diaspora Unity Congress. During the speech, he encouraged the Diaspora to stay engaged and announced a number of new initiatives. For example, he noted that the Soros Economic Development Fund has created a Haiti Invest project, through which an initial 25 million dollars will be spent on promoting investment in agricuture, energy, housing, and tourism. Clinton is an asset to Haiti, but as one participant emphasized, the Haitian Diaspora must now step up.
In the article below, Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald writes how, despite Haiti's many challenges, roads are being built, power plants constructed, and business opportunities growing. Investments in Haiti - in the capacity of its government, in its infrastructure, and increasingly in its private sector, are starting to pay off. Haiti is a country under construction, with something that it has not had for years...momentum.
Hurricane season has begun. Flooding will be inevitable each year until environmental degradation is reversed. Still, leadership, preparation, and coordination can mitigate the human and economic costs. Jacqueline Charles describes, in the Miami Herald, the last minute efforts of the Haitian government to bolster infrastructure in Haiti's most vulnerable cities, yet to recover from the consequences of last year's storms. Haiti is more ready than it was last year, but still has a long way to go.
Patrick Farrell won a Pulitzer Prize for his photos of the devastation caused by a series of tropical storms that devastated several cities throughout Haiti, though none so much as Gonaives and Cabaret. His stark photography captures the heart-ache of the many families who lost loved ones. As is usually the case in Haiti, children pay the heaviest price for inaction.
The Miami Herald ran an article concerning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's upcoming visit to Haiti, which will take place shortly after the International Donors' Conference. While the visit will be brief, we take this as a welcome sign that Secretary Clinton, whose responsibilities include overseeing the foreign assistance programs of both the State Department and USAID, is interested in and committed to Haiti's development.
According to Jonathan Katz, public health workers plan to vaccinate some 1 million women and children this week around Haiti's capital after delays exacerbated by food riots and hurricanes. The effort marks the second phase of an international goal to immunize 5.6 million Haitian children - more than half the country's population - against diseases like polio, measles and rubella.
Usually when you read an article about peacekeepers in Haiti, it concerns how many are on the ground. In a bit of a role reversal, the Miami Herald reported that the United Nations will deploy a group of Haitian police as peacekeepers to Chad. The yearlong assignment involves monitoring Chadian police responsible for refugees from the war in neighboring Darfur.
Those who know Haiti understand its potential. The Miami Herald recently described a report by Paul Collier, author of "The Bottom Billion", on why Haiti can indeed succeed over the long term. Regional engagement, job creation, and empowerment of the Diaspora will be key. Do you agree with his findings? Please post your feedback in the comments section.
The past year has been hard for Haiti. As usual, an emergency occurred that galvanized the attention of the international community temporarily. Humanitarian responders ramped up operations to deal with the crisis at hand. Commitments were made from donors, some of which were even kept. But other emergencies happened around the world in other countries, and the political will to help Haiti make it from emergency to development mode fades. Below is a Miami Herald article by Jacqueline Charles, touching on the issue of "Haiti Fatigue." Has the world grown tired of Haiti?