Capuano sees progress during one-day tour of Haiti

Congressman toured Haiti capital with eye on troop levels, relief
U.S. Representative Michael Capuano visited Haiti last Friday and says he is encouraged with the progress he witnessed. Capuano, who represents parts of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts’ Eighth district, joined several other members of Congress to meet with senior U.S. diplomats and military leaders in and around Port-au-Prince.
“They are making relatively good progress in a relatively short time,” Capuano told the Reporter, adding that he was especially heartened to learn that there has not been a significant outbreak of disease among survivors. “Sanitation is better than it was. At the same time, they’ve really turned their focus into shelter with the rainy season coming. Everyone knows it there. We will have to wait and see how well we do it.”
“I mostly dealt with the American presence through the US Ambassador, USAID, the military,” Capuano reported. “It was a quick visit to assess where we are and where we are going.”
The Congressman believes that the U.S. military presence in Haiti will likely remain unchanged for the “foreseeable future.” The US military deployment to Haiti peaked at about 20,000 troops on Feb. 1 and has since been reduced to approximately 13,000, according to the Associated Press. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has stated the U.S. will be in Haiti for the long haul.
“I think that every day that goes by it gets more stable and the government of Haiti will take more and more control. But I think we’ll be there for a while. It’s a good thing for the people of Haiti, it’s a reliable force that is definitely not interested in taking over Haiti. But for the foreseeable future it will be a significant presence.”
Capuano said he expects to return to Haiti in the near future to monitor progress
"I represent one of the largest Haitian-American communities in the country and I thought it was important to see firsthand how much needs to be done to help the people of Haiti rebuild their lives and their
neighborhoods. I also thought it was important to convey the depth of America's commitment to Haiti," Capuano stated.
Other members of Congress who joined Capuano on this fact-finding trip included Rep. Robert Scott, Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rep. Gwen Moore.