f_0017760_15211

f_0017760_15211 - The Stabilization Process in Haiti A Work...

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Fall 2009 The Ambassadors REVIEW 1 The Stabilization Process in Haiti: A Work in Progress Hédi Annabi Special Representative of the Secretary-General Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) hen considering the progress of the stabilization process in Haiti and what is required for it to succeed, one is reminded of two Haitian folk proverbs. The first, Deyè mòn, gen mòn (beyond the mountains, there are more mountains), is a sobering comment on the reality that life includes many challenges, and that we must show patience, endurance and readiness to take them in stride. The second, men anpil, chay pa lou (where there are many hands, the load becomes lighter) is a more reassuring reminder that even when the tasks ahead of us seem most daunting, we can succeed if we work together. These two proverbs together encapsulate two central lessons that emerge from my experience over the two years since I assumed my present functions as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). * * * In September 2007, Haiti appeared to be moving swiftly and smoothly toward the consolidation of its stability. The country had made substantial progress since June 2004, when a United Nations peacekeeping operation began to deploy. During this period, an elected government under President René Préval had taken office, and had demonstrated its intention to strengthen democracy and respect for human rights and to combat corruption. The Haitian authorities had endorsed and collaborated with United Nations peacekeepers in a series of operations to uproot the gangs that had exercised a reign of terror over the capital, Port-au-Prince. They had begun to lay the foundations for institutional reform programs, through the adoption of national blueprints. In each of these areas, the Mission, under the leadership of my predecessors Juan Gabriel Valdes and Edmond Mulet, had made a significant and appreciated contribution. And yet, within the succeeding months, Haiti once again emerged as an area of serious concern for the international community. A rise in the prices of staples in the winter of 2007-2008 exacerbated public frustration and generated a series of destructive demonstrations across the country. This in turn paved the way for a vote of no-confidence in April 2008 against the incumbent government of Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, and led to a prolonged period of political vacuum. A further, catastrophic blow fell upon Haiti in the summer of 2008, as a series of hurricanes devastated the country. In less than four weeks, they left behind almost 1,000 W
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Fall 2009 The Ambassadors REVIEW 2 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, and inflicted widespread destruction of goods and infrastructure that was equivalent to 15 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product. By September 2008, most casual observers would have said that Haiti’s situation
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f_0017760_15211 - The Stabilization Process in Haiti A Work...

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