MIAMI (CBS4) – Republican South Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen returned from Haiti Tuesday night as the island nation prepares to mark the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake which killed more than 230,000 people and heavily damaged Port- au-Prince.
As she stepped off the plane at Miami International Airport, Ros-Lehtinen says for the country to thrive, the government has got to be strong and stress accountability.
“Haiti continues to need our help. However sustainable recovery and development in Haiti will depend on a strong leadership by the government of Haiti. Leadership that is not there,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “It depends on a concrete effort to stop corruption.”
As the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, this was Ros-Lehtinen’s first foreign trip since taking over as head of that committee. The congresswoman attended a signing ceremony of the North Park Project in Port-au-Prince, the hardest hit area of the 7.0 magnitude quake.
“By focusing on the northern coast, this project helps spread the opportunity for jobs and stability outside of Port-au-Prince and across the island,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
Ros-Lehtinen, who visited Haiti six months ago, said before she left that she was looking forward to seeing the progress that has been made and learning what challenges remain.
“It’s important that I’m able to go to Haiti, a country that’s near and dear to the U.S.,” said Ros-Lehtinen in a written statement before departing. “It’s very important to U.S. interests and we have a vested interest in seeing that stability, democracy and free enterprise take root there.”