Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jan. 14: Haiti Needs a Marshall Plan

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Haiti was already the heartbreak of the Western Hemisphere long before Tuesday's earthquake.

The most impoverished nation on this side of the globe, Haiti has battled decades of brutal dictators, corrupt leadership and natural disasters. It was thought the four storms that battered the country two years ago provided about the worst that could be seen.

With an estimated 100,000 people dead and at least a million more affected by this tragedy in some way, the earthquake's aftermath is far worse. Rich and poor, black and white, just about everyone within the quake's range has been touched.

Conditions in Haiti are certainly comparable to conditions in many European countries after World War II. At that time, President Harry Truman signed off on the Marshall Plan, named for then-Secretary of State George Marshall, which provided aid to those countries and the means for them to stabilize themselves.

Today, Haiti needs something similar - an effort that can come both through the UN and the Organization of American States. Both organizations should get to work quickly on such a plan.

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