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Haiti News Round Up: March 29, 2010

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Chris Dodd Says, "Place Haiti Under A Trusteeship"

From The Miami Herald

After the quake, the Washington Post interviewed Haitians who begged the United States to take over control of Haiti.

Haitians no longer believe that their government could do what needs to be done to save their country. Said one man: "When we tell the government we're hungry, the government says, `We're hungry, too.' ''

Sadly, they may be right.

I do not believe, of course, that we should occupy Haiti. We should not take lightly the importance of sovereignty, not discount the Haitian people's long history of enduring difficult times. But we cannot pretend that Haiti can lead its own reconstruction.

Sexual Violence Prevention Needs To Remain A Priority In Haiti

From Amnesty International

Amnesty International said that the lack of measures to prevent and respond adequately to the threat of sexual violence is contributing to the humanitarian crisis and urged the Haitian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to curb sexual violence and protect women living in the camps.

"Sexual violence is widely present in camps where some of Haiti's most vulnerable live," said Chiara Liguori, Caribbean researcher at Amnesty International from Port-au-Prince. "It was already a major concern in the country before the earthquake but the situation in which displaced people are living exposes women and girls to even greater risks."

Earthquake Accentuated Class Differences In Haiti

From The New York Times

Haiti has long had glaring inequality, with tiny pockets of wealth persisting amid extreme poverty, and Petionville itself was economically mixed before the earthquake, with poor families living near the gated mansions and villas of the rich.

But the disaster has focused new attention on this gap, making for surreal contrasts along the streets above Port-au-Prince's central districts. People in tent camps reeking of sewage are living in areas where prosperous Haitians, foreign aid workers and diplomats come to spend their money and unwind. Often, just a gate and a private guard armed with a 12-gauge shotgun separate the newly homeless from establishments like Les Galeries Rivoli, a boutique where wealthy Haitians and foreigners shop for Raymond Weil watches and Izod shirts.

Haiti Needs Renewal, Not Restoration

From The Washington Post

Touring his devastated capital with U.N. special envoy Bill Clinton, one top Haitian official pointed out the ruined national parliament and presidential palace. "We don't want to restore them," he said of the collapsed colonial-style landmarks. He spoke of replacing them with something modern and more suited to Haiti's ambitions for itself as a self-reliant developing nation with genuine hope for a fresh start and prosperous future.

That is our challenge in New York -- not to rebuild but to "build back better," to create a new Haiti. Under the plan, an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission would channel nearly $4 billion into specific projects and programs during the next 18 months. Over the next 10 years, reconstruction needs will total an estimated $11.5 billion.