WASHINGTON, DC – Over a month ago Paul Getty Altidor, the inept Haitian ambassador to the United States resigned amidst confusion about his ability to represent Haiti in the new age of Trumpism. Mr. Altidor who was appointed in 2011 by former President Michel Martelly upon the recommendation of the Clintons. Since his arrival in DC, Mr. Altidor has been more of an embarrassment not only to Haiti but to the Haitian Diaspora who had grown accustomed to Raymond Alcide Joseph a capable and knowledgeable ambassador.


During his tenure, Altidor served more as a pawn for the Clintons in the game of earthquake aid-dollars flowing from European countries to the Clinton Foundation with thank you letters from the honorable Altidor; instead of an honest broker of Haiti’s interest.   He was largely regarded among the political elites in Washington, DC as a nuisance who knew very little about diplomacy and international relations. Altidor knew very few people in Washington, DC, and according to people who worked very closely with him inside the Haitian embassy who speak on conditions of anonymity, he could not get his telephone calls returned from the chiefs of staff of US congressmen and senators. He had very little knowledge of the workings of the US Congress, and never had a relationship with any of the members of the Congressional committee on Foreign Relations.  During his time in Washington, he tried unsuccessfully to broker a meeting between Michel Martelly and President Obama. It was time for Haiti to find a new ambassador.


Currently, Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise is in the process of seeking a person to appoint as Haiti’s ambassador to Washington, DC. According to our sources from Port-Au-Prince, Gandy Thomas, the current Haitian consul general in Miami is high on the list to replace Altidor. His appointment will be a huge mistake and a disappointment.  Haiti needs an ambassador, especially in the United States who understands his role, who is well read, smart and has established contacts with policymakers in Washington DC. It makes no sense to appoint another Altidor.


A person like Raymond Alcide Joseph with similar credentials will do wonder for Haiti’s image. Ray as he is known among friends, was a formidable ambassador with charm, wit, contacts and an intellect to match. He was loved by the Haitian Diaspora, and well respected not only among his peers, but among policymakers in Washington DC, who knew him as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He was a skillful orator, who knew how to negotiate competing interests. As Haiti’s ambassador from 2007 to 2011, he accomplished a lot on behalf of Haiti. His leadership skills were on full display in the days following the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. While the Haitian government was largely missing, he mobilized not only Washington DC but other ambassadors from far away countries such as Israel who came to Haiti’s rescue.


Ray was one of the most effective Haitian ambassadors in the United States. He held the post when Haiti needed a lot of help. On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti at 5 p.m., causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, and displacing millions of people. Less than an hour after the earthquake, Ray was on the phone with the White House seeking help. A few hours later, the United States Army 82nd airborne was dispatched to Haiti. Because of his leadership in handling the chaos, he was invited to Obama’s State of the Union address and sat next to Michelle Obama, a proud moment.


Like other countries, Haiti has its share of problems, including poverty, but the negative image that Haiti bares besieges no other island anywhere in the world. Haiti has gotten a bad rap in terms of public relations. Haiti’s image can be changed, for Haiti has many positive attributes..  Haiti has a vibrant culture, hardworking, resilient people with a conviction embedded in its emblem “L’union fait la force” in unity there is strength.  Haiti is home to beautiful beaches and some of the most breathtaking monuments in the world, but very few people would know this. Almost every single article written and news story often refers to Haiti as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, as if this is the only thing Haiti has to offer. Haiti has Labadee a beautiful beach town where cruise ships come to port daily, allowing passengers to taste the nectar of the beautiful island.


A new Haitian ambassador to the US would have her job cut out for her, and we say “her” because Haiti has not appointed a woman ambassador to the United States, and we think it is time Haiti does that. A new ambassador must come with new ideas designed to remake the image of Haiti, bolster investor’s confidence, develop better understanding with the current administration, especially considering the war declared on immigrants which disproportionately affects Haitian immigrants.


The post of Haiti’s ambassador to the United States is crucial. Haiti has had nearly 200 years of history with the United States, having gained its independence a  quarter century after the US gained its independence. During most of that time, Haiti has bared the brunt of racism, imperialism and utter neglect. But we remain hopeful that Haiti can develop a new relationship with its oldest neighbor, one based on mutual respect. That new relationship must start with a person who knows how to maneuver around the political elites of Washington

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