Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Busch visited Haiti earlier this week to assess the damages inflicting the country in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. The first question that comes to mind is, who will be their assessor? Who has environmental and statistical information about population distribution, land and sea productivity, more opportune factory locations, competent instructional personnel availability, school and health centers necessities, etc … before and after January 12, and future expectations?
Or, simply said, who had a socio-economic development vision for the country before, and has constructive thoughts now?
If they are misled, otherwise, these distinguish leaders tasked with America’s reconstruction aid to Haiti, will do a disservice yet again to the beleaguered city.
We expect the Non Governmental Organizations or ONGs will steer the former presidents to a direction while self-serving, does not help Haiti toward real economic development.
Once more, the Haitian elites, ever so quick to proclaim their nation’s sovereignty will jump for any immediate financial opportunity regardless of the future consequences for the country and its poorly informed population.
This “presidential” visit comes on the same day as the US Congress passed an historic health reform bill. In a speech President Barack Obama, urged the Democratic congressmen and women to vote the Senate health reform bill.
Using a citation from Abe Lincoln to introduce his plea, President Obama said: “I was tooling through some of the writings of some previous Presidents and I came upon this quote by Abraham Lincoln: ‘I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.’ ”
Abe Lincoln is remembered has a man of vision and resolve who was not afraid to take controversial decisions. Barak Obama from the beginning of his campaign had chosen this political model that so far has guided him well. Exalting the House members, Mr. Obama said, “this body has taken on some of the toughest votes and some of the toughest decisions in the history of Congress. Not because you were bound to win, but because you were bound to be true. Because each and every one of you made a decision that at a moment of such urgency, it was less important to measure what the polls said than to measure what was right.”
We equate the challenge that the health care debate to that of rebuilding in Haiti. Our president, Rene Preval has been silent and seemed unable to grasp the wheels and steer the country toward a clear destination. Sometimes the political expedient thing is not the right thing. Obama had staked his presidency on this bill. So as a lame duck, Preval should stake his legacy on rebuilding Haiti and dig deep into his soul to ensure that the right thing is done in Haiti. He should ensure that a plan that defends and promotes the interests of the people is the one that reaches Clinton and Bush. Not the status quo of a small coterie of people reaping all of the benefits.