PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The United States is to give an extra 100 million dollars in aid to Haiti, which has been ruled by an interim government since February, taking the total to 160 million dollars, US ambassador James Foley said.
“This will be immediate aid that will be available in the first half of June,” Foley, who spoke in French, told a news conference.
Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue had traveled to Washington earlier this month to request more aid to his Caribbean nation, the poorest country in the continent.
“Mr. Latortue explained that the state coffers were empty, the needs and suffering of the Haitian people is increasing, electricity is lacking, trash is piling up, and there was deliberate destruction and pillaging by the former government,” Foley said.
The United States has led an international stabilization force in Haiti since former president Jean Bertrand Aristide resigned and fled the country on February 29 amid an armed rebellion.
Foley said 35 million dollars will go to Haiti’s budget, 22 million dollars to the judiciary and police, 16 million dollars for employment and nine million dollars for elections.
The rest of the money will be used to support democracy, fight corruption, restore electricity, pick up trash and provide humanitarian aid.
“The multinational force barely avoided a large war between (pro-Aristide) armed gangs and rebel forces,” Foley said. “What this country needs most is peace.”
“Violence is a cancer that has raged in this country for too long,” he added.
Foley said he regretted the decision by Aristide’s Lavalas party to stay out of an election council.
“The Lavalas party had given itself the historic mission of defending the country’s poor, but the result was catastrophic with intimate links to criminal networks and drug traffickers,” Foley said.