Bill Clinton: Haitian Temporary Status OK by Me

Bill Clinton says Haiti needs your prayers and your cash

By Todd Wright
|  Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 12:34 AM PDT
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Clinton Wants You in the Haitian Boat

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Bill Clinton will speak all things Haiti and Honduras in Miami today.

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Clinton Wants You in the Haitian Boat

Former president Bill Clinton spoke at the Americas Conference to drum up support for Haiti's struggling economy.
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Bill Clinton is so dedicated to helping Haiti get back on its feet, he's willing to move there - as long as four million of us come along for the boat ride.

The former president spoke at the Americas Conference on Tuesday and relayed a message he will be trumpeting for the next two years: Haiti needs your prayers and your cash.

The hour-long speech spoke of how improving the financial situation in Haiti will only help the other Latin American and Caribbean nations who have pretty much turned their backs to the plight of their neighbor.

"We can do these things, but it's going to take everyone rowing in the same boat," Clinton said. "The government is really committed. And I thnk the donors are. And the Haitian ex-patriot community is really committed."

For some reason the sales pitch sounds so good coming from the smooth-talkin' Southerner. Why else would anyone think about taking a vacation to a nation that has been ravaged so badly by hurricanes that its citizens considers mud pies a delicacy.

Clinton also talked about a topic near to the hearts of the Haitians in Miami - temporary status in the U.S.

Too bad for Haitians eager to leave the island he didn't feel that way publicly when he was Commander and Chief. Clinton said he believes the Obama administration wants to do it, but isn't sure how.

"They want to do it, but they want to do it in a way that doesn't open the floodgates to a mass exodus," Clinton said.

While Clinton was the big name at the Biltmore, Honduras was the bigger topic.

Outside of the hotel, about 50 protesters chanting "Elections yes, Zelaya no" greeted guests and speakers. They are angry at the current situation in Honduras that has come to a head now that ousted President Manuel Zelaya has returned to reclaim his country.

Roberto Michelletti, who took over as president after Zelaya was run out of town by the military, has no plans of giving up power so easily.

Clinton has not weighed in on the subject publicly yet, but is expected to give his opinion on what impact the situation could have on Latin America and the Caribbean if it does not come to a peaceful resolution.

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