U.S., Cuban officials meet at Haiti relief conference

U.S. and Cuban officials met on the sidelines of a Haiti relief meeting in the Dominican Republic yesterday, Reuters reported, citing anonymous diplomatic sources.

According to the Reuters sources, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra and a senior Cuban health ministry official met with Cheryl Mills, counselor and chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and another senior State Department official in Santo Domingo. The discussion centered on Cuba’s medical aid to Haiti.

Cheryl Mills

Both the United States and Cuba took leading roles in relief efforts immediately after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, and both have committed to long-term support for the Caribbean nation’s $11.5 billion reconstruction. The day after the earthquake, Cuba let U.S. relief flights cross its airspace.

The U.S. delegation also met with officials from other countries in Santo Domingo, including Venezuela, according to the Reuters source.

Cuba and Brazil are currently holding talks about cooperating in the reconstruction of Haiti’s healthcare system.

Humanitarian organizations, donor countries and United Nations agencies met in Santo Domingo yesterday to come up with a draft plan for a coordinated reconstruction plan for Haiti, whose capital and surroundings was devastated by an earthquake Jan. 12. The final plan will be determined at a UN donor conference in New York March 31. 

Meanwhile, Empresa Constructora del ALBA C.A. completed construction of 88 homes in Haiti and plans to build 40 more by May, as part of a $4.9 million donation funded by Venezuela, Juventud Rebelde reported.

Before the Jan. 12 earthquake, the Venezuelan-Cuban state joint venture had planned to build 500 homes in Haiti. The earthquake affected 3 million Haitians. 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez committed to the plan during a 2007 visit in Port-au-Prince.

The 88 one-floor homes — all of which made it intact through the earthquake — have two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a combined living/dining room/kitchen. Empresa Constructora del ALBA also provides road, water and electricity infrastructure.

You May Also Like