WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will give Haiti an extra $100 million this year to help the interim government establish democracy after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster in the poor nation, a U.S. official said on Monday.
The United States had already earmarked $60 million for the Caribbean country. Following a deadly revolt that swept Aristide from power, it promised to find extra funding for interim leaders it helped choose to fill the vacuum.
The additional $100 million will help train police, plug the government’s budget gap and pay for U.S. advisers to work with Haitian ministries, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in an announcement before a donors’ meeting.
“In a lot of different ways, I think this money will contribute to the full return of democracy to Haiti,” he said.
Boucher said Canada will host an international donors conference by July 15 for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, which has a history of coups and autocratic leaders.
The United States came under fire for allowing Aristide’s ouster. It sent forces to stabilize the country only after flying him into exile Feb. 29 as rebels closed in on the capital.
After Aristide’s fall, and the arrival of a 3,600-strong U.S.-led force, the United Nations (news – web sites) appealed for $35 million in emergency aid. But donors have appeared reluctant to provide the funds.
Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, installed by a U.S.-backed council of prominent Haitians, has not received major long-term pledges to build up the hapless police force, fund the government or prepare for elections in 2005.
The Canadian conference could look at long-term commitments, Boucher said.