June 15th, 2009
08:16 PM ET
13 years ago

U.N. names Bill Clinton envoy to Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday officially named former U.S. President Bill Clinton as special envoy to Haiti.

The position calls for Clinton to work to create jobs and access to basic services for the people of Haiti.

"All I want to do is help the Haitians take over control of their own destiny," Clinton said.

The U.N. Office for the Special Envoy for Haiti said unemployment reaches 70 percent nationally and 78 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. Even though Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Ban said he believes that it "is at a turning point. It has a real chance for stability and potential prosperity."

Clinton will be working from a plan that was created by the Haitian government.

"They produced, I thought, a very impressive program called 'Haiti: A New Paradigm,' and we intend to follow that," he said.

Clinton said his new job has four major goals: to support the Haitian government in implementing its program; to assist in the recovery effort with the same fervor as was shown toward countries affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004; to encourage more international private sector investments; and to encourage donors who have promised money for Haiti to honor their commitments.

Governments have pledged $353 million, with the biggest pledges coming from the Untied States, Canada and France. "The challenge now," Ban said, "is to turn these pledges into contributions."

He said he believes that Clinton can accomplish that.

Haiti's minister for foreign affairs, Alrich Nicolas said, "Our country and people could not hope for a better friend and advocate than Bill Clinton.

Clinton, who will be paid an annual salary of $1, added, "I believe Haiti is better positioned to make progress for all its people than at any time since I first visited in 1978."

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Haiti • United Nations
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Jean

    Everytime those racist Republicans take over this country, they create a big mess in Haiti. They don't like Democrats in this country or anywhere, they don't like Haiti. You can fool the world or yourself, but you will never fool God, for He knows everything. At least Clinton supported a democratically elected president (Aristid). In contrast, can you even imagine Bush doing that? Remember Catrina?

    June 16, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. Jason Craig

    "The position calls for Clinton to work to create jobs and access to basic services for the people of Haiti. "

    Shouldn't he be doing this for The United States?

    June 16, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. Hal

    As long as he doesn't invite Aristid back he'll do just fine, beleive me, I know ...

    June 16, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  4. Ticane

    Dear Eleanor, I cannot agree more. I only hope that this time they really want to do something for those brave and hardworking people of Haiti. Haitian People living in USA have done so much for this Country. Consult the books of those Us Citizens who are not ashame of telling the true History of their country and you will know. It is a shame for USA as the richest and the most powerful country on earth to be surrounded by one of the poorest countries without truly doing anything to help. I hope they are not trying to steal the goods of that poor country as they've been doing for years. True Power and dignity come in being honest and compassionate for others. The Bible says the most powerful should be at the service of the less fortunate. People do not trust Clinton, I do not either; however someone has to be in that position. So be it.
    Only God cares for those poor people. He will show them the way one day of prosperity and justice.

    June 16, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  5. James Michael Roberson

    I wonder if some people even read the article before they write their post. They are so anxious to make a dig against the Clintons or Obama that they post before they know what they are talking about or what the facts are. They just spew there vile and lies and get in their talking points. Hey! Bill Clinton is going down there as an envoy for the United Nations. So Obama is not sending Bill Clinton the UN is. Get the basic facts right then maybe someone will believe you. And the UN helping the Haitians get back on their feet is not going to prevent or slow down people getting jobs in this country. If anything by helping them, the UN will help make another market for our goods, thus creating more jobs for Americans. People need to be more positive. We have had all the NO we need for a long time.

    June 16, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  6. Nelson moger

    This is ablessing to haiti.Now can UN send BUSH also as aspecial envoy to Iraqi?

    June 16, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  7. mjbhawg

    Bill will do a good job, thats a good pick.

    June 16, 2009 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. mikal previl

    I need aristide back to haiti to because he like to help people

    June 16, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. mary

    The Canadian Governor-General Michaelle Jean was born in Haiti. President Clinton should engage her great talents. This former journalist, who met Obama during his Ottawa visit, would make a great ambassador....If anyone can help those poor people in Haiti, it's Bill Clinton and his vast connections of philanthropists. Great news!

    June 16, 2009 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  10. jf

    It's dissapointing how ignorant the majority of poster have been regarding this topic. Haiti is and has been in a horrible economic situation, their economy has been on the rocks for decades for a wide variety of reasons, including US policy. Simply put, Haiti does not have "vacation resorts and stuff" because living conditions there are absolutley horrible. Beyond politics here in the states, the people of Haiti deserve the respect and support from all of us as one of their close neighbors. We should all support and wish to best of luck to Mr. Clinton.

    June 16, 2009 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
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