- By Laura RozenLaura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will be named a U.N. special envoy on Haiti this week, sources close to the United Nations tell The Cable.
A UN official confirmed to The Cable that there would be a formal announcement on this Tuesday.
The Clinton Foundation did not immediately respond to queries; nor did the White House.
Clinton traveled with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Haiti in March, on his fourth trip to the impoverished island nation of nine million people.
"I’ve been following this country for more than three decades," Clinton told the Miami Herald. "I fell in love with it 35 years ago when Hillary and I came here. I think I understand what its shortcomings have been but I’ve always believed most of its problems were not as some people suggested; cultural, mystical. I think they were subject to misgovernment. They were either oppressed or neglected and they never had the benefit of consistently being rewarded for effort in education, in agriculture, in industry and in any area. And, therefore, they were forced to become incredible, if you will, social entrepreneurs and to make the most of daily life."
"The message I want to send to the rest of the world is what … the factory owner told me today," Clinton further said. "‘These people work hard and they work smart. … Tell the world Haiti is a good place to invest’."
Haiti is important to the former president, a former Clinton administration official said, and was the first place his administration intervened abroad. In 1994, Clinton ordered the U.S. military to intervene in Haiti to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power several years after the former president was ousted in a military coup. The UN took over the lead on the peacekeeping mission in 1995, and some 9,000 UN peacekeepers currently remain in the country. Hurricanes last year killed an estimated 800 people in Haiti and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage.
Obviously, Clinton has good relations with the African-American community; he had a history with Haiti when he was the governor of Arkansas; and it was one of the first issues that bubbled up when he was president, the former official said.
Clinton’s March visit to Haiti, where he remains popular, came as four south Florida lawmakers met with Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, seeking temporary protected status for some 30,000 Haitians who had been scheduled to be deported back to Haiti.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Haiti last month, where she pledged an additional $57 million in U.S. aid for the Caribbean country as part of a $324 million Inter-American Development Bank aid package.