Under the Influence: A New Horizon for Haiti

Under the Influence: A New Horizon for Haiti

In addition to coordinating the world's ruling class with the Clinton Global Initiative and combating HIV/AIDS with the Clinton Foundation, former President Bill Clinton is still fighting for Haiti. In May, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon invited him to be the United Nations Special Envoy to the poorest state in the Western Hemisphere. Clinton accepted, raising the question of where in the world he finds the energy.

Earlier this month, Clinton made his third visit of the year to Haiti. During his trip, he toured the country, arguing that the moment was ripe for a revived tourism industry. He then presided over an investor conference, where he pitched some 600 business-people on the need to reinvigorate industry on the island. Not surprisingly, Clinton was convincing. According to the Inter-American Development bank, which organized the conference, interest spiked among representatives from some of Brazil's biggest textile outfits as well as firms like Levi's and the Gap.

The problem, of course, is that Haiti is no haven for investment. It is dangerous. It is underdeveloped. And despite Clinton's assertion that this could be the best moment he's seen in his lifetime for a reinvigorated economy there, Haiti -- to put it bluntly -- has a long way to go. However, 15 years after Clinton authorized mission "Uphold Democracy," sending some 20,000 American troops to reinstall Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power, the island may very well be experiencing a harmonious confluence of efforts by international actors to make things better.

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