Haiti observers accuse the U.S. and Canada of sending mixed messages. In October, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited the country to inaugurate the Caracol Industrial Park that is touted as evidence of the international communitys commitment to rebuilding Haiti.
U.S. Ambassador Pamela White also has publicly lauded Haitis progress.
Both Clintons went to Caracol and hailed the thing as the New Haiti, said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert and professor of political science at the University of Virginia. The secretary of state says, Go to Haiti, and they present it to us as the Great breakthrough that will change the country and then two months after, you have a warning that you shouldnt go to Haiti? If you tell tourists they shouldnt go, why would businessmen go to Haiti?
I dont understand what is the policy of the international community vis-a-vis Haiti, said Fatton. I dont think they know what to do with the country. They are kind of reckless with Haiti.
Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary general for the Organization of American States, said generally when we look at the whole hemisphere, the security situation in Haiti is far less than in other countries.
We have to be careful that by taking certain action we are not becoming counterproductive to what we want to achieve, he said. Haiti needs tourists, Haiti needs investors and anything that can limit or become a deterrent is going to be a negative.
Ramdin said members of the international community also need to reevaluate their own efforts to help Haiti, which also must do its part.
I have found a lack of willingness on the part of the international community to coordinate better in Haiti because everybody wants to plant their flags. They want to be recognized, Ramdin said. Haitis government, despite its goodwill, has been distracted by domestic issues and also by natural disaster.