Interview
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador's Residence
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011


QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, I’m very glad to have you as a – to have an interview with you today it’s a very important day for Haiti. So what is the purpose of your mission in Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m here just a little over a year from the earthquake to express our continuing support for the Haitian people, for reconstruction and redevelopment, for humanitarian assistance, and to show solidarity with the Haitian people as we go forward into the future.

I’m also here to urge that the voices and the votes of the Haitian people be heard and respected. I know that Haiti is on the brink of moving forward in the electoral process, and we support the OAS recommendations. We would like to see Haiti resolve their election and install a new president so that we can begin the hard work that still lies ahead.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, regarding the reconstruction, how do you see the situation in Haiti? We got, like, more than one million people still living in the tents. So how do you judge the situation one year later?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there has been progress, but not nearly enough. We have an enormous amount of work to do together. And although everyone is working, I think we know that it’s not just rebuilding structures. We want to do better. We want to have a better education system and healthcare system. We want more economic opportunity.

My husband and I feel very personally committed to Haiti. President Obama is very committed to Haiti. So we want to take what has already been done and make it a model, not just for Haiti’s future but for the world.

For example, if I could give you just one statistic, in a year, more rubble has been removed from Haiti than was removed after the tsunami in Indonesia. It is hard when you’re living in the midst of a tent city, when your home has been destroyed and your children are still not regularly going to school, or when the job you had has not come back, to have any perspective. I understand that. So we are here to reassert our commitment. We are impatient; we are determined to work with the people of Haiti to accelerate the progress.

QUESTION: Regarding the political (inaudible) in Haiti right now, you just have a meeting with Michel Martelly, Mrs. Manigat and Jude Celestin. So what kind of message do you send to these leaders in Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Our message is very simple: We support the votes of the Haitian people and believe they should be respected. We support the OAS recommendations, which reflect the best analysis possible about the intentions of the Haitian people when they voted. But the decision is up to the government and people of Haiti. We would like to see the election go forward into a second round and a resolution so that there can be an orderly transfer of authority and a new president can get to work.

QUESTION: When?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As soon as it can be done. I know that these matters take time. And I met with a group of civil society experts, including election experts, and they’re concerned about making sure that in the next round there are enough observers, there’s enough information for voters so they know where to go to cast their vote.

We will work to help that be accomplished, but the important task now is to set out the schedule and make sure that we hold a free and fair second round.

QUESTION: For the end, Mrs. Clinton, do you have a message for the Haitian population? It’s been waiting a long time for development, democracy, and (inaudible) in Haiti. So do you have a message for Haitian population?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I think that the people of Haiti have proven themselves over the course of your history as courageous, resilient, determined people against great odds. Do not give up. Democracy is worth investing in. It must deliver results for the people, and the United States will stand with you. We know how hard this is, and we admire your courage.

QUESTION: Once again, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.



PRN: 2011/T39-05