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Haiti’s National Palace to be demolished

A flag flies near the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on Monday January 18, 2010.
A flag flies near the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on Monday January 18, 2010. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Hollywood actor Sean Penn, who has devoted his life to helping Haiti recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake, has taken on a new task: demolishing the country’s ruined presidential palace.

Penn’s charitable organization J/P HRO has volunteered to tear down the white mansion at no cost to the Haitian government. The work will begin in the coming days and is expected to take months to complete.

“This is yet another step forward for the Haitian government and people as they create new beginnings and opportunities while rebuilding their extraordinary country, and J/P HRO and its team of skilled engineers are honored to be involved,” said Ron Baldwin, J/P HRO executive director.

Demolition of the palace, destroyed in the quake, will be officially launched at 9 a.m. Wednesday, President Michel Martelly’s communications office said in a press release. The communiqué, however, failed to mention Penn’s name or organization, or details of the demolition.

A source close to the charity confirmed to The Miami Herald that the group is stepping in, and that it raises money to assist Haiti.

The palace, with its domed entrance, was designed in 1912 by Georges H. Baussan, a Haitian architect, and constructed with the help of U.S. naval engineers.

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