In the last few days, I have learned that most of my family members in Haiti, though homeless, are alive. Even as we grieve for those we lost, we are thankful for the safety of other loved ones, and for the incredible outpouring of concern, aid, and assistance coming from all over the world.
Since this disaster occurred last Tuesday, I have wanted nothing more than to go to Haiti to help, hold and comfort my family and other survivors. Knowing I can't do that now, I am putting all my energies into helping Haiti rebuild its country without the burden of $1 billion in old debts.
As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti's $1 billion debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans.
Haiti needs a sustained international effort as it seeks to recover from this earthquake. Beyond the current emergency response, we'll need to ensure that money saved from debt relief is invested in long-term development, and that assistance to Haiti isn't given in the form of new loans that would exacerbate the debt problem.
But here and now, there is a very clear goal: let's get rid of this crippling debt.