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US is Haiti's largest donor

YOUR NOV. 1 editorial, "The Last Thing Haiti Needs," contains a number of misstatements, particularly the assertion that the United States stopped sending aid to Haiti in 2000.

Since 1993, US assistance has totaled over $1 billion, which makes us Haiti's largest aid donor. In the past two months, we have provided more than $11 million in additional assistance to help Haitians rebuild after the recent tropical storms and hurricanes that devastated the island nation. President Bush signed into law a Caribbean aid package of $100 million for hurricane relief, which will benefit Haiti significantly.

In 2000, Congress imposed a moratorium on US assistance to the Haitian government, in response to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's unwillingness to cooperate on counternarcotics matters and his failure to address the irregularities in Haiti's legislative elections. But the Haitian people continued to receive US assistance, thanks to aid channeled to nongovernmental organizations.

Restoring security to Haiti is a daunting task, and the United Nations stabilization force should be commended for bringing order.

The United States and other partner countries are working intensively alongside the UN to professionalize the Haitian National Police, whose standards prohibit human rights violators from its ranks. We believe that any weapons delivered to Haiti should be given only to a trained and professionalized police force. The United States is committed to help Haiti realize its potential, and we are working with the interim government to end the country's legacy of corruption and bad governance.

Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of
Western Hemisphere Affairs
Washington, D.C.

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