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A Need For Security For Haiti

The people of Haiti are expected to vote for a new president in November. But the Caribbean country continues to face a social, economic and political crisis.

Haiti remains the least-developed country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Haiti's economic stagnation is the result of mismanagement, corruption, lack of investment, and the departure of many skilled Haitians. Haiti is also a major transshipment point for illegal narcotics to the U.S.

Violence broke out in February 2004 when rebels called for the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, accusing him of massive corruption. Mr. Aristide left Haiti and is now in exile in South Africa.

Armed gangs with political and criminal motives continue to wreak havoc in Port-au-Prince. In April 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution fifteen-forty-two, which created the Brazil-led U-N Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH. Gerard Latortue, Haiti's interim prime minister, says that more help from the U-N is needed:

"We are a population of eight-point-five-million. We have only four-thousand police, and with MINUSTAH, seven-thousand military, one-thousand police, whereas all the specialists in the country say for a population that size, we need forty-thousand police officers."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that along with the U-N, the Organization of American States has a role to play:

"In places like Bolivia, Ecuador, and Haiti, the institutions of democracy have perhaps brittle roots. To help democracies in our hemisphere in places like these and in others to find a path to lasting success, this organization [the O-A-S] must also embrace the legitimate contributions of civil society."

Secretary of State Rice says that the O-A-S, the U-N, and others have a few months "to really get ready" for the elections in Haiti. Ms. Rice says, "We now really need to focus in on making those elections a success in security terms and in political terms."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.