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Haiti Weighs Suddenly On Marco Rubio’s Mind

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US Senator and Republican Presidential Hopeful Marco Rubio.

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. July 14, 2015: Republican Presidential hopeful, Cuban American Marco Rubio, has suddenly decided to turn his attention to U.S. policy towards Haiti.

Rubio will preside over a hearing titled ‘Overview of U.S. Policy Towards Haiti Prior To The Elections’ tomorrow, July 14th. The hearing is being held by the Senate’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, And Global Women’s Issues, which Rubio chairs.

Thomas C. Adams, special coordinator for Haiti in the U.S. Department of State is scheduled to testify at the 2:30 p.m. hearing.

The hearing comes as Haiti’s long overdue elections. Elections for two-thirds of the Senate will be held Aug. 9th as well as the entire lower chamber of deputies. The presidential election will be held on Oct. 25th along with local and municipal elections with a presidential run-off, if necessary, on Dec. 27th.

The hearing is set to assess how U.S. funds are being spent in Haiti five years after it suffered a devastating earthquake and if the election will be able to held.
Rubio recently pushed through several Haiti election-related amendments in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee which condition the release of U.S. funds to Haiti on the State Department’s reporting of whether the upcoming Haitian elections are free, fair and responsive to the people of Haiti.

“A dysfunctional Haitian government or one that rules undemocratically will have negative repercussions for U.S. assistance and ultimately the future of Haiti,” a Rubio aide was quoted by the Miami Herald as saying. “This is a chance to highlight all these and other issues affecting Haiti today and its ability to build a more democratic, safe and prosperous future tomorrow.”

Haitians make up a large voting bloc in the state of Florida which Rubio will have to win to advance in any primary election. Haitians are one of South Florida’s fastest growing ethnic groups, The largest proportion of Haitians live in the South Florida area and cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Tampa, and Orlando.In 2009 the US Census estimated that there are 881,488 Haitians living in the U.S.