Thursday, February 23, 2012

Leahy heads Congressional delegation to Cuba, Haiti and Colombia

Leahy heads Congressional delegation to Cuba, Haiti and Colombia
by Press Release | February 23, 2012
Feb. 22, 2012

Carle, David (Leahy) <

(WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22) — Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is heading a
bicameral, bipartisan congressional delegation of four senators and two
House members in visits to Cuba, Haiti and Colombia. They leave
Washington Wednesday, Feb. 22, during Congress's current recess period,
and return five days later.

While in Haiti the delegation, which includes Representative Peter Welch
(D-Vt.), will deliver a sampling of supplies of clothes and toiletries
to a women's shelter, donated by the Newbury, Vt., mother of Vermonter
Flo McGarrell, who perished in the earthquake. An art studio in Haiti
has been established in Flo McGarrell's name.

Leahy, the Senate's second most senior member, chairs one of the
Senate's two panels with jurisdiction over U.S. foreign affairs, the
Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, of the
Appropriations Committee.

In Cuba the delegation will meet with government officials, religious
and civil society leaders and others.

The delegation's visit to Haiti follows up on Leahy's fact-finding trip
to Haiti last year to inspect recovery efforts after the 2010
earthquake. In Haiti the delegation will meet with government officials,
humanitarian aid workers and U.S. embassy officers, while visiting
U.S.-supported relief projects in the country. One of the sites, run by
the Vermont-based organization "Pure Water for the World," includes a
small factory to produce water purification filters to prevent cholera
and other diseases.

In Colombia, the delegation has meetings set with government officials,
U.S. embassy officers, representatives of civil society, indigenous
leaders and others, for discussions that will include the
multi-billion-dollar Plan Colombia, funded by U.S. taxpayers. As
chairman of the Foreign Operations funding panel Leahy for many years
has been sharply critical of some aspects of Plan Colombia, and his
efforts are credited with being a catalyst for reforms of Colombia's
justice system and for greater accountability in the Colombian military.

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