WASHINGTON, DC – On the occasion of January 12, 2015, which marks the fifth anniversary of the terrible earthquake that devastated Haiti, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, reiterated the commitment of the OAS to the Haitian people and their government. “Our sincere thoughts go out to the 230,000 victims, their families and friends and all those who were injured or left homeless,” he said.
“The commemoration of this sad anniversary is an opportunity to honor the courage and perseverance of the Haitian people as well as the efforts of their government to improve the living conditions of the population,” he added.
For his part, Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, Chairman of the Group of Friends of Haiti, recalled that since 2010, 94% of the households displaced as a result of the earthquake have been relocated, and noted that “the removal of debris has given way to reconstruction, improvement of infrastructure, economic growth and the creation of jobs.” “More children now attend school than before and health indicators are improving,” he said.
Ambassador Ramdin insisted that “the hard work that has been done in recent years has produced concrete results, which should be celebrated, while at the same time we must not lose sight of all that remains to be done in unity.”
In his message to the people and government of Haiti, Secretary General Insulza said that “for the benefit of the population, it is imperative that all the actors of the Haitian nation unite in their efforts to make the agreements necessary to preserve the achievements that have been made and to ensure sustainable development in Haiti. This is all the more urgent as the deadline for resolving the political crisis afflicting the country´s democratic institutions approaches.” In this sense, he said the OAS applauds the intensive efforts from President Michel Martelly and the Parliament over the past weeks to agree on a way forward.
With these words, the OAS leader urged all political actors to “work together to create the necessary conditions for the holding of free and transparent elections in 2015 that are essential to the preservation of the democratic gains that have been made and the political stability of the country.” He added that “the best way to honor the thousands of victims of this catastrophe is to overcome the political and other forms of difficulties with courage and in unity, in order to continue without delay the work needed to allow Haiti and its people to reach their full potential.”