Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Sarah Palin began a tightly stage-managed visit to Haiti on Saturday in which she visited cholera clinics while avoiding crowds and the press.
The 2008 vice presidential candidate was a guest of the Rev. Franklin Graham, whose aid group works in the impoverished country. Haiti is facing a brutal cholera epidemic while struggling with an electoral crisis and reconstruction from the January earthquake.
Palin, who traveled in part by helicopter, provided access on her tour solely to the U.S. cable network Fox News.
Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, refused to discuss Palin’s itinerary with other media and asked Haitian and American reporters to leave its compounds, citing a “security lockdown.”
Associated Press television journalists saw Palin talking with foreign aid workers. She wore cargo pants, a T-shirt and designer sunglasses on her first trip outside the United States since speaking to investors in Hong Kong last year. That speech was also closed to the media.
Unity needed, reformer says
Maghagha, Egypt – Leading Egyptian democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday he is pushing to unify the country’s opposition groups to build enough numbers for pro-reform protests following parliamentary elections marred by widespread allegations of fraud.
In a somber assessment of his movement for change, the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.N. nuclear chief also said disparate opposition groups didn’t pose a serious enough challenge to President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party in the country’s Nov. 25 vote because they failed to present a united front.
He said the failure to work together deprived it of the ability to stage large protests. He also noted that his call for a boycott of the vote went unheeded, while a petition for reform he endorsed didn’t garner as much support as he expected.
“I think the next step you will see probably is much more unity of the opposition,” he said.