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Clintons land in Haiti to showcase industrial park

CARACOL, Haiti — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged foreigners to invest in Haiti as she and her husband led a delegation Monday to inaugurate a new industrial park at the center of US efforts to help the country rebuild after the 2010 earthquake.

Actors Sean Penn and Ben Stiller, fashion designer Donna Karan, and British business magnate Richard Branson were among the luminaries at the opening of the Caracol Industrial Park, which is projected to create thousands of jobs more than 100 miles from the quake-ravaged capital of Port-au-Prince. Hillary Clinton told investors gathered for a luncheon that she had made Haiti a priority when she became secretary of state.

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‘‘We had learned that supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti meant more than providing aid,’’ she said. ‘‘It required investments in infrastructure and the economy.”

Earlier Monday, thousands of Haitians lined the roadway to wave at her motorcade. The secretary of state and other US officials, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, toured a housing development for industrial park workers supported by the US Agency for International Development.

The Clintons and their allies hope that the $300 million industrial facility will transform the northern part of this impoverished country.

But some Haitians say the industrial park does little more than replicate failed efforts from the past and will benefit outsiders more than Haitians. They also worry it will harm some of the few pieces of undamaged environment that still exist in Haiti.

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