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Haiti’s Government Begins Process of Demolishing National Palace

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 22, 2012

Above: Haiti’s damaged National Palace (Photo: James English)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti’s government has announced the first phase of the demolition of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, which was largely destroyed in the earthquake of January 2010.

President Michel Martelly’s office first unveiled the move in a statement issued Tuesday night.

The structure is being demolished for the eventual construction of a new building, although a presidential spokesman told Caribbean Journal that the decision of how to replace the palace had not yet been made.

Wednesday was the opening of the first phase of work on the project, which is being conducted by Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization. Penn is also an ambassador-at-large for Haiti.

For more information on J/P HRO’s work in Haiti, read Caribbean Journal’s interview with Benjamin Krause, J/P’s Haiti Country Director, from earlier this year.

Just what to do with the building, which was heavily damaged in the January 2010 earthquake, remained an issue for much of the past two years.

Actual demolition work could begin within approximately 10 days.

The spokesman told Caribbean Journal that it was possible that certain portions of the palace could be preserved as a memorial, however.

“The building is a symbol,” the spokesman told CJ. “The National Palace is a symbol for Haiti, so the government is looking to protect several parts which can be protected, because it’s a historic building.”

The preserved partial ruins could be remembered in a way similar to portions of the Berlin Wall, he said.

“We want to keep it as a historic symbol of the building,” he said.

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