.- The U.S. Catholic bishops congratulated the Haitian people and president-elect, René Préval, on the success of their recent elections and called on the international community to increase its assistance to Haiti in the development of “sustained economic growth and social transformation.”
“The challenges facing the people of Haiti and Mr. Préval are enormous and will require the cooperation of all sectors of society,” wrote Bishop Thomas Wenski in the Feb. 21 letter. “We know that the Catholic Church in Haiti will continue to fulfill its essential ministry of fostering unity, peace and reconciliation.”
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy called on the U.S. Congress to act soon in moving stalled legislation that would grant meaningful trade preferences to Haiti and create thousands of new jobs. He called specifically for the U.S. to help Haiti’s apparel industry.
“The people of Haiti have taken an important step forward in electing a president. Now the United States and the international community must take additional steps to accompany the Haitian people as they walk the long road to a future of democratic and economic re-vitalization,” said the bishop of Orlando.
“It is our hope that the President, members of the legislature and the new Prime Minister when installed will immediately move to bring about significant and early improvements in the standard of living of all Haitians,” he stated. “We believe that this is best accomplished by seeking the active participation of political parties, the private sector, academia, the many vibrant organizations of civil society, the Haitian Diaspora and Haiti’s numerous friends throughout the world.”