Bulldozers Start to Demolish Presidential Palace in Haiti
By Dialogo April 14, 2010Two bulldozers have started to demolish the Haitian Presidential Palace, destroyed during the earthquake that struck the country on 12 January, AFP reporters confirmed Friday. The yellow machines, which arrived Thursday night, started to demolish the central cupola of the building, which collapsed in the magnitude-7 earthquake. The completion date for the work “has not yet been determined,” the head of the presidential guard, Bernard Elie, told AFP, explaining that the bulldozers are “stabilizing the dangerous parts.” “As far as the rest, we don’t know yet,” he added. Dozens of earthquake victims gathered in the plaza located in front of the presidential palace, the Champs de Mars, to observe the demolition. “We’re going to make it stronger, more beautiful,” Pierre John, who was present with his friends for the moment that the Haitian flag was raised to the sound of a fanfare from the presidential guard, said in Creole. “After the reconstruction (of the palace), there will need to be money for the schools and also so that we can have jobs,” Hector-Jean Hardy said for his part. A source of pride for Haitians and a symbol of the independence of the first black country in Latin America, the palace built by Haitian architect Georges Baussan between 1914 and 1921 had “survived a bombardment, armed assaults, and a major fire,” the daily Le Nouvelliste recalled Friday. The Presidential Palace is 20,000 square meters in size, compared to 4,000 square meters for Élysée Palace, the official residence of the French president, in Paris.