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United States Ambassador to Haiti visits Jacmel

HAITI – United States Ambassador to Haiti Janet A. Sanderson visited Jacmel January 30 and 31.

During her stay, the Ambassador was able to meet the Mayor of Jacmel, His Honor Edo Zenny, and key members of civil society, as well as visit microenterprise development project sites and the Dessaix-Baptiste Ecole de Musique, where she was treated to a concert by the youth orchestra. She also spent time at a hospital and treatment facility run by the Missionaries of Charity, and met with a group of Persons Living with AIDS.

“I have wanted to visit Jacmel for some time,” Ambassador Sanderson stated during an interview with Voice of America affiliate Radio Tele Express. “It has much to offer as a center for economic development, tourism and culture. As Ambassador for all of Haiti, not just Port-au-Prince, it is important that I visit critical regions such as this one.”

Mayor Zenny welcomed the Ambassador warmly to Jacmel, and accompanied her on visits to the Port of Jacmel to discuss port development with representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and meetings with the regional Chamber of Commerce.

Ambassador Sanderson also visited the Missionaries of Charity facility and St. Michel Hospital. The Ambassador met separately with a group of AIDS patients at the hospital and discussed how to reduce the stigmatization of those affected or infected by AIDS.

Many enterprises in the Jacmel region have benefited from United States Government assistance through USAID and the Center for Disease Control. Chief among them are the Tombe-Gateau processing plant, which produces Haitian Bleu coffee, and the FONKOZE microfinance institution, which collaborates closely with the local community to fund entrepreneurial projects and support critical humanitarian needs such as potable water, education and infrastructure development.

FONKOZE also supports Radio Zetwal, a community-based radio station. Under the auspices of the PL-480 food program, the American people contributed over $10,000 worth of humanitarian aid in support of the Missionaries of Charity’s Jacmel facility in 2006 alone.

In addition, the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, supports St. Michel’s hospital’s AIDS treatment programs as well as patient groups for those living with the disease as part of the $55 million it allocated to fight the spread of AIDS in Haiti.

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