Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Catching Up with the News

A few weeks ago, Clinton, pictured above with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian-American singer Wyclef Jean, and most importantly, a sister we know and beautiful Haitian children, traveled to Haiti.

In the above picture, which I found at Wyclef Jean's website, Clinton and company are visiting an oasis in Cite Soleil run by the Daughters of Charity. In their complex, the Sisters have schools, a medical clinic, programs to teach women how to sew, a malnutrition program for children and other things I know I am forgetting. In the squalor and harshness of Cite Soleil, the Sisters' place is a calm, beautful setting where people are safe and cared for, at least for awhile.

John has volunteered at their medical clinic. It is one of his favorite places to work in all of Haiti.

Clinton traveled to Haiti, where he is very popular, thanks to his role in restoring Aristide to power in 1994, to encourage the international community to invest in Haiti. There are a lot of people in Haiti who want work and who will work hard.

Also in the news recently was Cardinal Francis George of Chicago's welcome call for President Aristide to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians currently in the United States. Here's an excerpt from the Cardinal's excellent letter:

Haiti meets the standard for TPS because it has experienced political tumult, four natural disasters, and severe food shortages in the last year, not to mention the devastation of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. In April 2008, starving citizens took to the streets to protest rising food prices, causing political instability.

In August and September 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna passed through Haiti, causing severe damage and the death of close to 700 persons. Massive flooding from the storms has destroyed homes, crops, roads, and bridges, and largely rendered areas like Gonaives inaccessible to relief workers. Over 90 percent of Haiti has been impacted. Tens of thousands have been displaced, and the fate of thousands more is unknown. More than 300,000 children have been affected.

As the Cardinal goes on to say, the conditions in Haiti are as bad as or worse then El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, where TPS was recently extended.

Here's hoping the Cardinal's letter helps.

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