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Former PM: Haiti 'not doomed'

By Tom Evans, CNN
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Haiti's former PM speaks
  • Pierre-Louis heads to World economic Forum in Davos to plead for support
  • She warns the world against inaction toward Haiti
  • She was Haiti's prime minister for a year until last October

(CNN) -- Although Haiti's capital is in ruins and hundreds of thousands are homeless, a former prime minister of the earthquake-ravaged country vowed "this country is not doomed."

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Haiti, former Haiti Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said there must be hope for her country, especially as the world considers a massive recovery program.

"Port-au-Prince is destroyed, the few cities around Port-au-Prince are destroyed, but the whole country is not destroyed. It's important that life goes on in the other parts of the country," Pierre-Louis said.

Haiti needs to be the "co-pilot," along with the international community, of a major reconstruction effort after the devastating earthquake that leveled large parts of the country exactly two weeks ago, she said.

"People are still in dire need of support, but at the same time we want to give some hope that Haiti, which has been the country where the universality of human rights gave its true meaning in the 19th century, can be (a) global nation today."

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She told Amanpour, "I believe that this country is not doomed."

She also echoed Brazil Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who told Amanpour on Monday that the current Haitian government must become much more visible to the country's people.

It's important that life goes on in the other parts of the country.
--former Haiti PM Michele Pierre-Louis

"What I would have done -- because the national palace is a very symbolic place in Haiti -- I would have asked the international community, the Americans, whoever, to give us (government officials) six tents and put them right here in front of the national palace," she said.

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"We have 9 million Haitians here that need to know what to do, mostly the 2 million that are in Port-au-Prince and around Port-au-Prince and that were the victims of that earthquake."

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The January 12 earthquake killed at least 150,000 people. Some estimates go as high as 200,000. Some 194,000 people were injured. The United Nations said Tuesday that a million Haitians are in urgent need of temporary shelter before the rainy season begins in May.

Pierre-Louis, an economist who was Haiti's prime minister for just over a year until October 2009, headed to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to plead with the international community to keep its focus on Haiti and support its reconstruction.

She said job creation is the key to the country's recovery so Haitians do not remain dependent on international aid.

"Create jobs, so that people have the revenue, so that people can earn money."

Pierre-Louis acknowledged the importance of institutional reforms in Haiti, particularly in the judicial system. "The justice system has to work. We cannot live in a country with no sanctions. There is corruption in this country."

She also had a blunt warning for the world if it does not take action to help Haiti.

"If Haiti does not see how to get out of poverty, how to get out of disease, how to get out this situation that the people are living in, we are going to be trouble for the whole world," she said.