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President Rene Preval addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 2009


Statement summary
Rene PrevalRENÉ GARCIA PRÉVAL, President of Haiti, said that on top of the food, energy and financial crises taking a toll on the world’s populations, many countries now had to face recurrent natural disasters. Each blow required the rebuilding of the same infrastructure that had been destroyed and the re-establishment of the same productive capacities that had been swept away by hurricanes and floods. Without sufficient resources, the time would soon come to prepare for new disasters before the reconstruction process could be completed and before communities had time to recover from previous ones.

“Apparently this is the new life cycle for which vulnerable countries like ours must be prepared, and with insufficient means,” he said, stressing that the situation was no accident, but the direct consequence of a model of development and governance that powerful nations had imposed on the rest of the world for centuries. It was too concerned with the well-being of “money happiness” and too little concerned with that of people. It was a model which, even in wealthy countries, imposed a precarious standard of living on a large segment of their own populations, who were deprived of health care, decent housing and even quality education.

“Why should all of humanity accept that half the inhabitants of our planet live with such privations, in hunger and poverty, without hope for relief from their situation?” he asked. “Why should all of humanity accept that our planet be placed in danger irresponsibly, that species be condemned to extinction, that our populations become more vulnerable to natural disasters simply because of greedy economic choices by a minority of polluters?” The only true way to peace, stability and security was through development, and the only way to end the cycle of poverty and dependence was through aid that created the capacity for countries to develop on their own.

He said that, like many peoples of the South, Haitians were hard-working, clever and enterprising, with a great gift for resilience, forged in the disappointments of daily life, and capable of finding optimism in the smallest resource placed at their disposal. They yearned to mobilize that potential to take the path of sustainable development. It was possible for countries to develop, but that would require a new paradigm for international cooperation that recognized the ability of the poor to conduct business and produce wealth through the means and opportunities offered them to reinforce their productive capacities. However, without a vision that would break from the culture of perpetual humanitarian aid, peace and stability would be fleeting.

Turning to the situation in Haiti, he noted that, despite the negative impact of numerous international crises, important progress had been achieved in the areas of security, human rights, the investment climate, the elimination of corruption and the establishment of a society in which dialogue held a central place, supported by a free and independent press. That progress must be supported and expanded, which was why the support of the United Nations was necessary. A proper balance of military, police and administrative personnel would put the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in the best position to help the country consolidate a climate of peace and stability for reconstruction, reduce vulnerability and eliminate poverty. Meanwhile, Haiti condemned the coup d’état in Honduras and the embargo against Cuba.