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9613: Cong. Maxine Waters & Eddie Bernice Johnson in Congress on Haiti (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

of Remarks - November 15, 2001)

Thursday, November 15, 2001
   Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express 
my deep concern regarding current United States policy towards Haiti. 
   Haiti's human and development statistics are alarming. The life 
expectancy of the average Haitian is only 53 years, and this number is 
certain to decline as the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country becomes even more 
severe. According to UNAIDS, the United Nations agency responsible for 
addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, more than 5% of the adult population is 
HIV-positive, and some sectors of the population have infection rates of over 
50%. In other human development categories, Haiti's record is just as 
lamentable. Half of Haitian adults are illiterate, and more than 1 in 4 
children under the age of 5 are malnourished. Haiti ranks 152nd out of 174 on 
the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index, below such 
countries as Bangladesh and Sudan. 
   In previous years, the United States pursued a constructive relationship 
with Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Between FY 95 and 
FY 99, the United States provided $884 million in critical development 
assistance funds to support agricultural development, democracy and 
governance, teacher training, health care, and many other programs. The 
United States also supported multilateral institutions that worked to improve 
the lives of ordinary Haitians. More recently, however, the United States has 
pursued a myopic policy towards Haiti and has used its veto power to prevent 
the disbursement of funds from multilateral institutions such as the World 
Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The board of directors of 
the IDB has already approved $146 million in social sector loans for Haiti, 
but because of United States policy, these funds have been blocked from 
improving the lives of 8 million Haitians. This policy must change. 
   In order for the living standards and life chances of ordinary Haitians 
to improve, international development assistance is critical. The United 
States must change its current policy towards Haiti so that it may receive 
multilateral funds for pressing development needs. 

BLOCKING AID TO HAITI -- HON. MAXINE WATERS (Extensions of Remarks - November 
15, 2001)
Thursday, November 15, 2001
   Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western 
Hemisphere. Yet the U.S. government is blocking aid to Haiti in order to 
expand the influence of a single political party that is supported by less 
than four percent of the Haitian electorate. 
   Meanwhile, the people of Haiti are facing a serious humanitarian crisis. 
Haiti's per capita income is only $460 per year. Four percent of the 
population is infected with the AIDS virus, and 163,000 children have been 
orphaned by AIDS. The infant mortality rate is over seven percent. For every 
1000 infants born in Haiti, five women die in childbirth. 
   Not only has the U.S. suspended development assistance, the U.S. is also 
blocking loans from international financial institutions. U.S. policy has 
effectively prevented Haiti from receiving $146 million in loans from the 
Inter-American Development Bank that were already approved by that 
institution's Board of Directors. These loans are desperately needed by the 
people of Haiti. 
It is time for the United States to end this political impasse and restore 
bilateral and multilateral assistance to this impoverished democracy. 

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