- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 7, 2012

U.S. Ambassador Pamela White was personally exposed to the violent unrest that has swept Haiti for months when she accompanied President Michel Martelly to a coastal town to dedicate a new road financed by U.S. aid funds.

National police fired tear gas and used billy clubs to break up a group of angry demonstrators who tried to stop Mrs. White and Mr. Martelly from attending the ceremony in Petit-Goave, about 43 miles southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Police injured several protesters, and one 80-year-old woman died from asphyxiation from the tear gas, according to a Haitian news report.

Mr. Martelly later criticized protesters demonstrating a more than 40 percent rise in food prices and spikes in inflation since the former pop singer took office in May 2011 as president of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.


“These are not demonstrations — even if they were to last for five years — that will solve the problem of the high cost of living,” Mr. Martelly said.

Mrs. White was worried about the protests, which grew over the summer, even before she traveled to Petit-Goave to open the road that will connect the town to Haiti’s National Route 2, the main highway south of the capital.

“These demonstrations are SO unfortunate,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “Burning tires will not change a thing. They will turn off international business investors.”

MESSAGE TO MUGABE

A new U.S. ambassador arrived in Zimbabwe with another call for democracy in a southern African nation ruled for 32 years by a tyrannical president who has swatted away previous appeals as casually as a cow swats flies.

“I will work to enable Zimbabwe to become a just, prosperous and democratic state that meets the needs of its people, contributes to development in the region and plays an important role in world affairs,” Ambassador David Bruce Wharton, a career diplomat, said after arriving in the capital, Harare, last week.

U.S. ambassadors have been pushing President Robert Mugabe to adopt political reforms since the former leader of a revolution against white-minority rule came to power in 1980.

The former U.S. ambassador, John Ray, left in July complaining that Harare and Washington have spent years “yelling and hurling insults at each other.”

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Tuesday

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