Haiti hosts hemispheric leaders in three-day summit



A dozen hemispheric leaders will kick off the fifth summit of the heads of state and government of The Association of Caribbean States Tuesday in Haiti.

Two prime ministers and 10 presidents, including the leaders of Mexico and Colombia, have confirmed their attendance, said Haiti’s Foreign Minister Pierre Richard Casimir.

This is the first time Haiti will host the summit whose leaders and 389 delegates represent 25 member states and four associate members from Latin America and the Caribbean. Issues to be discussed include trade, tourism and disaster-risk reduction as well as improving maritime and air transportation between nations.

The summit ends Friday.

This is the second time this year Haiti has hosted regional leaders. In February, President Michel Martelly welcomed the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) to Haiti as chairman of the group until July.

This week’s summit, which has been a year in the planning, is far larger than February’s. Like the Caricom gathering, it allows Haiti to increase its visibility, Casimir said.

Among the first sights delegates will see upon their arrival in Haiti is a large billboard erected by the government near the airport in Port-au-Prince that pays homage to deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Last week, Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe announced that he was going to rename the Cap-Haïtien International Airport in northern Haiti in Chávez’s honor.

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