Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan. 17: Haiti Needs a Marshall Plan

By Sylvia Gurinsky

So it has come to this: As Haiti commemorates the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake, an unwelcome blast from the past returns: Baby Doc.

Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed "Baby Doc," who followed his father Francois - "Papa Doc" - as Haiti's dictator for so many years, has returned to that island. President Rene Preval should keep the promise he made four years ago to arrest Duvalier and bring him to trial for crimes against the country.

Preval may need a push from the rest of the world. Indeed, Haiti does need a worldwide intervention - not just for the aid that's been coming since the earthquake, but also for putting itself back together.

The upcoming presidential runoff not only won't solve the crisis, but may keep it going. Plenty of Haitians are already angry about who is in - or who isn't in - the runoff, and having a winner won't settle the issue.

Haiti is in the same condition as Europe after World War 2, with infrastructure and government all but destroyed in the earthquake. Haitian landowners have a stranglehold on their property, hindering efforts to clear the rubble and begin to rebuild.

The Marshall Plan, named for American general and Secretary of State George Marshall, helped rebuild Europe. Haiti needs a similar plan, perhaps with former U.S. President Bill Clinton overseeing it.

No comments: