Brazil prepared to accept Haitian families, Rousseff says, but not traffickers

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for January 2, 2012. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

Port-au-Prince, February 2 – “We are ready to accept Haitian citizens who would choose to seek new opportunities in Brazil,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told the press during a brief visit to Port-au-Prince on February 1.

Brazil, which desires to be sensitive to Haitian social, economic and humanitarian difficulties, has created a category of permanent visa exclusively for Haitians.

The country can “admit under that type of visa as many as 1,200 Haitian families a year… for a period of five years,” the head of state specified.

The measure is being announced as 284 Haitian migrants are stranded at the Brazilian border with Peru this week.

This situation results from the work of human traffickers, members of networks “of criminals and hustlers” that we must combat, according to President Rousseff.

“We are going to guarantee access to our country under conditions of safety and dignity for those Haitians who choose to live there and to work there and at the same time to combat human trafficking and dealing in persons, while maintaining close collaboration with our neighboring countries,” Rousseff stated.

This new category of visa will not limit Brazil’s aid to Haiti, declared Dilma Rousseff, who said she is certain that Haitian – Brazilian relations are guided by “a spirit of sovereignty, of cooperation, of development, of fraternal friendship, of openness to dialogue and mutual respect.

She affirmed that “Brazil wants to contribute to the lasting and long-term development of Haiti.”

Dilma Rousseff stresses Brazil’s firm engagement in the Haitian process of reconstruction, of institutions as well as of infrastructure.

Brazil in involved in the construction of an electric plant (called “Project 4C”) in the Artibonite region. This should supply electricity to a million Haitians. The Brazilian contribution is 40 million dollars out of 170 million, with the Inter-American Development Bank contributing 30 million dollars. One hundred ten million more are still needed.

In the agricultural field, Brazil invests in research and technical application for the production of corn, rice, beans and cassava, as well as in the “lait à gogo” program, which supplies milk to schools. It provides assistance as well to the “Aba grangou” (“No to hunger”) program recently launched by the Haitian government and directed by the president’s wife, Sophia Saint-Rémy Martelly.

In the field of health, Brazil wants to participate in the rebuilding of the Haitian public health system. Three hospitals and a rehabilitation facility for persons suffering from handicaps should be inaugurated this year. Training will also be given to 2,000 new health professionals.

The new South American power hopes to assist the Caribbean republic of Haiti in other fields as well, such as education, sports, justice, security and urban development.

In response to the will of the Haitian government, President Dilma Rousseff “guarantees there will soon be Brazilian investments in Haiti…”

This should begin with the organization of a forum of heads of Brazilian businesses who will come to invest on Haitian territory.

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