From the House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, submitted the following statement for the Congressional Record marking the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on January 12, 2010:
“January 12, 2010, Haiti was devastated by the most powerful earthquake to strike that nation in over 200 years. The wave of destruction to follow was unprecedented. In just 35 seconds, one-third of the country had been directly impacted by the worst natural disaster to ever hit the Western Hemisphere.
“Today, one year later, we mark the somber anniversary of this tragedy and honor those who lost their lives that day. Remarkably, in the midst of such devastation, the people of Haiti have forged on.
“And yesterday, I was honored to have the opportunity to travel to Haiti and visit with some of these men and women as they work tirelessly to rebuild their lives, their communities and their nation. I was struck by their enduring resilience and inspired by their perseverance.
“Sustainable recovery in Haiti will depend on strong leadership by the Government of Haiti, a concrete effort to stop corruption, the implementation of accountability and transparency measures, as well as the involvement of the people of Haiti in the design and ownership of their future. It will also be important going forward that there be a transition away from dependency on traditional U.S. government assistance and instead a renewed focus on innovative public-private partnerships and grassroots, civil society efforts.
“To ensure that U.S. foreign assistance to Haiti remains transparent and effective, I also plan on introducing legislation to that end this Congress, calling for increased and sustained oversight over U.S. funding to Haiti.
“Finally, though the official OAS report has not yet been released, it appears that certain changes will need to be made to ensure that the true will of the Haitian people in electing their future representatives is honored and respected. The Haitian people deserve a leader who believes in effective, good governance and the rule of law. And it is only in adherence to these principles that Haiti’s recovery may be successful.”