While the country is celebrating its heritage month, and May 18th was Haiti’s glorious Flag Day, the international community has responded by nominating a new overseer for the country. Yes, former US president Bill Clinton became the U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti on Tuesday, with a mission to “help” the impoverished nation achieve some measure of “stability after devastating floods and other crises,” confirmed United nations officials. Responding to journalists who were questioning him on this new post, Clinton said he was “honored to accept the post.” He then twisted his tongue in order to meticulously sound politically correct. “I believe Haiti is better positioned to make progress for its all its people than at any time since I first visited in 1978.”
The former president sounds very much humble while trying to reassure his audience—without being explicit—that with him in charge, the poetic justice that the Haitian masses long for will finally come to bear. And to polish his political correctness, he went on to say that “last year’s natural disasters took a great toll, but Haiti’s government and people have the determination and ability to ‘build back better,’ not just to repair the damage done but to lay the foundations for the long term sustainable development that has eluded them for so long.”
All this was happening against the backdrop of another diplomatic initiative on behalf of Haiti. Dominican president, Leonel Fernandez, on Monday made a formal request to admit Haiti as a new member of Ibero-American countries. Leonel made his plea on the basis that Haiti was indeed a Spanish colony before it went under French rule. It is not sure whether Leonel’s request will be honored. While on the surface, it appears everyone wants to do something to rescue Haiti from the brink, Haitian officials remain tightlipped, quasi-nonexistent, hoping for yet another venue to continue to fill their lots on the back of the disenfranchised Haitian people.
Clinton is said to be “popular” in Haiti, especially in the aftermath of Aristide return to the country following a 2-year exile that began with a military coup in 1990. Clinton takes credit for leading the cause for Aristide return, even though Aristide’s power and legitimacy had already been eroded by the time he arrived at the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince in 1994. “Clinton is still well-regarded here for using the threat of U.S. military force to oust a dictatorship in 1994, then sending Army troops and Marines to pave the way for the return of elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been deposed in a coup,” wrote the Associated Press.
U.S. top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also praised Clinton’s appointment, naming it “a high-profile envoy,” while carefully avoid not to mention their marriage or the requirement that State Department lawyers review Bill Clinton’s international activities to avoid conflicts of interest. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mrs. Clinton claimed to have already prepared for Haiti while adding “”It’s the kind of partnership we are looking for across the board.”
Sources said that Clinton was hand-picked for the job by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who did not hide his happiness for the nomination. “I am confident that President Clinton will bring energy, dynamism and focus to the task of mobilizing international support for Haiti’s economic recovery and reconstruction,” Ban said in Geneva.
L’avenir dira le reste. (The future will tell.)