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Caricom leaders flay Trump

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise attends a ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Haitians reacted with outrage Friday to reports that President Donald Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa at an Oval Office meeting held on the eve of the anniversary of the 2010 earthquake. Moise’s government issued a strongly worded statement denouncing what it called a “racist” view of Haitian immigrants and people from African countries.
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GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Calling President Donald Trump’s remarks about Haiti and African immigrants as repulsive, the 15-nation Caribbean single trading bloc at the weekend flayed Trump for his outburst, calling them unenlightened views.

“Of additional concern, is this pattern of denigrating Haiti and its citizens in what seems to be a concerted attempt to perpetuate a negative narrative of the country. We are especially saddened that such narrative emerged around the time of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake which took so many lives of citizens in that country,” the bloc said in a statement.

Haiti is the last nation to join the grouping back in 2002.

The bloc said that leaders are deeply disturbed by “the use of derogatory and repulsive language” reportedly uttered by Trump, and suggested that they fully supported “the dignified statement of the government of the Republic of Haiti in reaction to this highly offensive reference. It should be recalled that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the United States of America. CARICOM therefore views this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptab­le,” the weekend statement said.

Leaders are scheduled to hold this year’s mid-year summit in Haiti sometime in February and are certain to have an extensive discussion on this as they go over foreign policy issues.

Thousands of Haitians were granted temporary humanitarian status after the devastating January 2012 earthquake that was estimated to have killed more than 300,000 people, including dozens of foreign visitors.

Late last week, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise dubbed Trump’s remarks as utterly racists and accused the American president of harboring racist view on Haitian immigrants and those from continental Africa.

“The Haitian government condemns in the strongest terms these abhorrent and obnoxious remarks which, if proven, reflect a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States,” it said.

The Haitian reaction noted the fact that Haitian soldiers had fought on the American side against the British in America’s revolutionary war around 1812.

The government statement also pointed to history, noting that Haitian soldiers fought on the American side against the British in the Revolutionary War and in the War of 1812.

“The relationship between the two countries has been strengthened by the fact that millions of sons and daughters of Haiti have contributed and will continue to contribute to the prosperity and greatness of America,” it said.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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