Lula to visit Haiti in February, frees up 205 million in aid

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday said he would visit Haiti in February and authorized 205 million dollars worth of aid to the quake-stricken nation.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (L) greets a relative of a Brazilian U.N. peacekeeper who died in the earthquake in Haiti, during a memorial tribute ceremony in Brasilia January 21, 2010.

"On the 25th of next month I will be in Haiti," Lula told the World Social Forum meeting in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

The president's office said Lula signed an emergency resolution freeing up 205 million dollars in aid for Haiti. The funds are included in a 750-million-dollar assistance program for Brazilian regions affected by floods, droughts and landslides.

In a speech at the forum, Lula held developed nations responsible for Haiti's dire poverty and misery, which are now compounded by the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on January 12.

"The developed world is responsible for what happened in Haiti," Lula said.

"Perhaps now the earthquake will stir the shame of the human beings governing this planet, and we can now do what should have been done (for Haiti) 40 or 10 years ago."

Brazil heads the UN stabilization mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and has just decided to double its blue-helmet force there to 2,600.

Eighteen Brazilian peacekeepers were killed in the earthquake.

"Brazil has been five years (commanding) the peacekeeping force in Haiti. Let's show the world how it's a force for peace that does not interfere in political issues or advocate violence," Lula said.

The United States has sent about 20,000 US troops to Haiti in a massive quake-relief effort that has come under fire from some governments who believe it is masking a military takeover of the impoverished country.

Source: AFP

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