Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released this statement following meetings with President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Evans Paul and other high ranking Haitian government officials during this visit to the country on Saturday:

“Following our U.S. Embassy country team briefing in Port-au-Prince, we visited two initiatives funded in part by the United States Agency for International Development.  We learned of the great work the Zamni Beni Foundation is doing to provide a home and care for children who were displaced after the devastating 2010 earthquake.  The delegation also visited the Bas Boen Sustainable Rural Development Center where we were inspired by their work on training farmers on best agricultural practices.

“We then proceeded to a meeting with President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Evans Paul and members of the Haitian Cabinet.  We began by extending our condolences for the deaths of 18 Haitians killed and 78 injured during a recent carnival parade.

“Our delegation discussed a range of issues with President Martelly including the importance of scheduling elections soon; the urgency of working with Dominican officials on resolving immigration issues for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic; and human trafficking of women and children.

“At the meeting, President Martelly described advancing earthquake and economic recovery efforts; increasing access to education; and reforming the judiciary.  Our delegation’s last stop in Haiti was at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Port-au-Prince, destroyed by the earthquake five years ago, where we prayed for the people of Haiti.  Our focused dialogue in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti will serve us well in the important decisions which lie ahead in U.S. policy toward the region.”