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Brazil to Haiti Government: Raise Your Public Profile

January 25th, 2010
10:37 PM ET
Haitians are given bags of rice in front of the National Palace Monday in central Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Haitians are given bags of rice in front of the National Palace Monday in central Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

The government of earthquake-ravaged Haiti must become more visible now, even amid a global outpouring of aid as the impoverished island nation struggles to recover, Brazil's foreign minister said Monday.

"The government, in spite of all the difficulties, should appear more to the people," Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"I think it's important because after all, they are the ones who transmit the needs of the Haitian people to us, to the international community."

Amorim, speaking from an international conference on Haiti in Montreal, Canada, said it's important for the world to follow the priorities of the Haitian government.

// "We cannot lose sight of the central role of the elected leaders of Haiti," he said. "Haiti is a country that has an elected government."

Amorim was among more than a dozen foreign ministers and leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attending the Montreal conference. Representatives of many international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union were also there.

Speaking in Montreal, Clinton said, "As part of our multilateral efforts to assist Haiti, we should look at how we decentralize economic opportunity and work with the Haitian government and people to support resettlement, which they are doing on their own, as people leave Port-au-Prince and return to the countryside."

Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive was also in Montreal. He said the international aid effort has only just begun.

"I can simply tell you that the population is in need of more and more and more to confront the massive task of reconstruction," Bellerive said.

The aim of the Montreal meeting is to develop a strategy for early recovery and longer-term reconstruction. Once the strategy is set, a donors' conference to secure funding for Haiti would take place.

Amorim told Amanpour he expected the donors' conference is likely to take place at the end of March, possibly in New York, though that was not confirmed at the time of the interview.

"We cannot endure, we cannot see a disaster of the size of Haiti, with the poverty that exists in Haiti, and not do anything," he added.

"If you don't act for development, for emergency now and development immediately, you'll be having an enormous security problem."

Amorim told Amanpour that as part of his country's efforts to bolster security in Haiti, the Brazilian Congress Monday approved a plan to almost double the number of Brazilian troops in the U.N. force in Haiti, to as many as 2,600 soldiers.

The U.N. force there, known as MINUSTAH, has been led by a Brazilian general since 2004. It lost dozens of its civilian headquarters staff during the earthquake.

Amorim, who has just been to Haiti, said it was also vital to rebuild the country's national symbols.

"I think this is very important so that the Haitian people feel also not only that they are receiving food and water, but also they are recovering their self-esteem," he said.

Filed under:  1 • Haiti
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Jose Roberto Palombarini

    In this moment all governments give union, they get the UN stronger to act in events like this, because more and more disasters will be in the next years, like all people around the world know.

    January 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  2. Gabriella Coroneos

    Minister Amorim's comments on the need for re-forestation in Haiti are absolutely correct. However, such an endeavor will fail, as it has failed in the past, un-less poor Haitians are provided with an affordable alternative to charcoal fuel. The mountains have been de-forested because the trees have been cut to make charcoal for cooking, the only fuel the poorest of the poor can afford. The cooking fuel problem must be addressed before embarking on the re-forestation program. Consider doing a report on this subject in the future.

    January 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  3. John

    The Minister and Gabriella nailed that right, There is a urgent needs for re-forestation in Haiti this can be done by integrating The Boyscouts Association in Haiti along with the church Community, they done that before during the Duvalier regime without multi million $$$ price tag project with the Department of Agriculture (DAMIEN). (Campaign Re-forestation). But this cannot be done without the farmers, the Peasants involvement.

    January 26, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  4. Jason Gaya

    Dear Amanpur,

    The Brazilian Foreign minister has rightly said that the Haitian government should increase it's visibility to both audience, domestic and International. This will help them to regain the confidence of the local people, who are queuing in passport office to move away from their devastated country. For global audience, a more visible Haitian government will draw more aid in an organised fashion as international agencies can trust of governance that is capable to deliver much needed aid to its citizens.

    January 27, 2010 at 5:07 am | Reply
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