June 15th, 2009
08:16 PM ET
12 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. Eleanor

    I wish him much luck! But even more so, I hope he succeeds for the sake of those poor people in Haiti. They have been through so much. Blessings to President Clinton, and blessing to Haiti.

    June 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. katiec

    Bill Clinton is a good pick and will do a good job.

    June 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. lovable liberal

    I don't think Bill will ever be Jimmy Carter, but this could be a good start.

    June 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. RI Moderate

    Envoy to Haiti??

    How the mighty have fallen.

    I guess B.O. is really keeping the Clintons in a dark closet.

    June 15, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Whacky Crazy Conservative

    I hope he fails simply because he is a Democrat so I can have other stuff to talk about all the time.

    June 15, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. JK Ashburn, VA

    Lock up the women up Haiti for their own protection. Did B.O. get him a one-way ticket?

    June 15, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. J.P.

    I'd STILL take a generation under Clinton's rule than a day under Barry.

    June 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. rob

    Remember when Clinton sent a ship to Haiti to quell some violence, the Haitians showed up on the dock carrying handguns and the ship turned around and sailed away. They're probably still laughing about that one.

    I guess he'll have a low profile so he won't embarrass the Obama admin. With his reputation, thats not a bad idea.

    June 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Dawn in Pa

    If you heard his comments on Haiti, he has been working to help them for thirty years, and made a joke that the SOS has been there with him, Good Luck Bill

    June 15, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ RI Moderate

    That didn't even remotely make sense. Haiti is a complete disaster right now. The relative importance of helping them stand up and improve should not be judged by the power held by Haiti or its military or economic might, it should be judged by the human costs of its plight.

    Nice try tho. As long as we're taking pot shots, I'll say that the only thing you're really likely to find in that dark closet would be Larry Craig and that Shock kid.

    June 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. US citizen

    Here's a grand idea, petition for US jobs not somewhere else. Till this country turns around why should one job be created anywhere else?

    June 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. zago

    He will have a better chance to pass the unexploited resources of that impoverished nation to Huge Rodham: His brother in Law, Aristide's business partner, as they did in 1994.

    Rodham and Aristide got fruitful deal with their phantom account in Turkes and Caicos where every call towards Haiti generate 9 cts/mn (of which 6 for Aristide and 3 for Rodham)

    Fact which has been revealed by ULCC (Unite de Lutte Contre la Corruption): Corruption Fight Unit. Following the findings, a lawsuit been filed in Florida by Gerard Latortue against those who embezzled the country.

    The lawsuit was withdrawn by the current government. Transparency International and Heritage Foundation cried fool. Haiti's ranking amongst the most corrupted countries moved up right before Nigeria. Yet, the thieves and the corrupts are barely Haitians.

    June 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    Wait for Obama to finish his work here, then we will be asking Haiti for financial assistance.

    June 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Michael Turner

    I wished people would quit judging those who volunteer their time and service for a better good. If you dont like it or those doing it get off your hump and do something yourself to help the situation.

    June 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. stevie ray

    where is haiti..............

    i thought they already had vacation resorts and stuff

    June 15, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Pat, CA

    katiec June 15th, 2009 5:24 pm ET
    Bill Clinton is a good pick and will do a good job.

    Dear katiec - what else would YOU ever say about a Democrat? Clearly, in YOUR world the sun ONLY rises and sets around Democrats! You're getting REALLY stale, dear!

    June 15, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Flagship, NC

    I love the USA and served in the military for 12 years. But Haiti really needs a communist type government in order for them to get back on their feet. After 5 or 10 years migrate to a socialist type of government then when the time is right, migrate to a democracy if they ever get to that point.
    I like Bill Clinton, I think he is a wise man. But he needs the political experts from China and Cuba to advise him on how to proceed.
    I have traveled to the poor countries in Latin America and have seen what they are all about. Haiti really needs to be a Socialist state.
    Good luck Bill....our prayers are with you.

    June 15, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. trumpnetworker

    This is an answered "prayer" for the Hatian people!

    June 15, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  19. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Obama has real political genius. He has found a way of isolating, neutralizing and hiding BOTH Clintons. Machiaveli has nothing on this Hussein boy.

    How funny, I can just see Bubba's big red face...!

    June 15, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  20. Liz

    I have been to Haiti on a mission trip and am looking forward to Clinton making major changes to benefit this beautiful country.

    May God Bless Bill Clinton on this Journey to Help the People of Haiti.

    June 15, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. Ann

    Every time I read about Hillary or Bill I see some light at the horizon.

    June 15, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. Zero.

    Envoy of Hate. I always thought that was Barack Obama.

    June 15, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. Danny E. Gonzalez

    $1 a year job... a person that led the free world to its better economic days in a generation; you tell me that is a bad Idea? there must be some really ignorant people around here. we need people of means and know-how to help, not only in our country but around the world, when we spread our ideals around the world we win the moral argument; it is the dream of every die-hard reagan conservative to see the ideals of the U.S. being replicated elsewhere, but how do you do it if you don't communicate? pound the the day lights out of people sure don't work! stop living under a rock and wake up. A stable Haiti and a stable American Continent is good for the U.S. it is truly sad that people can be this ignorant.

    June 15, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Who cares??? Bill Clinton is last decade! There isn't a sensible word that comes out of his mouth! Doesn't the media have an Irani crisis or a collapsing economy to cover?

    June 16, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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