Mexico plans to spend more than US$10 million in Haiti to provide 300 scholarships for children and help build public markets, health clinics and other facilities as the Caribbean nation struggles to recover from the 2010 earthquake, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Thursday.
On his first trip to Haiti, and the first ever by a sitting Mexican president, Calderon said US$5.5 million would go for an orphanage, a rural school and the clinics. The rest will help rebuild 15 public markets and a supply center.
Calderon and Haitian President Michel Martelly also said the two countries plan to revive a panel named the Bi-national Chamber of Commerce and they ratified agreements on education, cultural and scientific and technical cooperation.
“Haiti has the support of our nation,” Calderon said under a tent outside the National Palace, still a crumpled pile of white concrete two years after the earthquake. “Mexico is for Haiti.”
Martelly and Calderon, who was accompanied by his wife, Margarita Zavala, commented after the two leaders met through the afternoon.
The UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti says Mexico pledged US$8 million toward rebuilding efforts after the quake. A little more than US$3 million has been released so far though Calderon’s office said the figure was much higher, at US$23 million. Martelly, a professional musician known as “Sweet Micky” before he was sworn in as president last year, used his singing skills to provide a cameo.
“I can sing a mariachi song for you,” Martelly said as he looked over at Calderon. Then after a few lines, Martelly sang: “Ay-yi-yi-yi.”