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Haiti's Children in Crisis; Interview With British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron; Rescue Workers in Haiti Refuse to Quit
Aired January 31, 2010 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: This week, Haiti's children. Tens of thousands alone, at risk, and struggling to survive.
I'm Christiane Amanpour, and welcome to our program.
This week, we have a special look at Haiti's children, the most vulnerable of all of the survivors and the most at risk to predators and now even disease. Many of the children lost everything -- their homes, their schools, and their parents. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are sheltering in makeshift camps, two and a half weeks since the earthquake struck. Still short of food, medicine, and water, and according to aid official officials, facing a new threat, diseases like measles and tetanus.
There are also troubling reports that criminals are targeting and trafficking the children. I spoke with Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, and I asked him about the dangers for the children and also what Haiti needs now.
And from Haiti to Europe, Britain's opposition leader, David Cameron, told me about the world's responsibility to Haiti, this week's London Conference on Afghanistan, and where he'll take Britain if he becomes the next prime minister.
But this week, I asked Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, about Haiti's future and Haiti's children.
AMANPOUR: The children, tens of thousands of them, maybe hundreds of thousands, have been separated from their families, many of them. Families dead, families lost, families moved out.
What is being done to corral these children, to register them to make sure no further harm comes to them?
JEAN-MAX BELLERIVE, HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER: It's one of the biggest problems that we have. And this morning, during the coordination meeting with the international community, I addressed the question of the adoption, because I have a lot of petitions for that. But we have to be very cautious...
AMANPOUR: We have to be what?
BELLERIVE: Cautious, because there is a lot of traffic...
AMANPOUR: You mean illegal child trafficking?
BELLERIVE: Yes. Even if it's -- it seems to be legal, but the lack of organization, they come and they see there are children on the streets who are going to bring them to the states. And we have already reports of a lot of trafficking, even of organ trafficking.
AMANPOUR: Of organ trafficking now?
BELLERIVE: Now, already.
AMANPOUR: Of the victims of the earthquake?
AMANPOUR: Do you know that for sure?
BELLERIVE: Yes, we know that for sure, and it was discussed in more detail (ph) during the conference.
AMANPOUR: And do you know for sure that children are being trafficked now?
BELLERIVE: There are children, trafficking for children, and other persons also because they need all types of organs. So...
AMANPOUR: No, but I mean live children. Are they being trafficked now?
BELLERIVE: The report I received, yes.
AMANPOUR: So how are you going to -- who is helping you to stop this, to deal with this?
BELLERIVE: Mainly, I'm trying to work with the embassies. Any child that is leaving the country has to be validated by the embassy under a lease that they give me with all of the reports. And the first thing, they have to confirm to me that they were already confirmed...
AMANPOUR: Adoption papers were legal and in...
BELLERIVE: Even if all of the process was not completed, but they should be on the process. And normally they should have been in an orphanage. And we know them and know they have no parents right now.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about schools, because that's another big issue. Obviously, it would take care of some of the trauma, some of the infrastructure for the children. I know so much of the school system has been destroyed.
Is the government planning to set up, I don't know, open air schools, schools in tents, reopening the school system?
BELLERIVE: Because this afternoon we are going to make that decision. I already have the report from the minister of education on what he can do, because the institution is very different depending of this zone. There are some zones that there is no problems in the schools right now, and we have a different level of decisions taking. We have the mayors deciding to close the schools, we have (INAUDIBLE) governor...
AMANPOUR: What will you decide this afternoon?
BELLERIVE: We are going to open it in most of the country.
BELLERIVE: Monday, I believe.
AMANPOUR: On Monday schools will open?
BELLERIVE: In most of the states. Now we are making the evaluation of the infrastructure in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and seeing what we can do.
AMANPOUR: So that's in schools that are not destroyed.
BELLERIVE: Not in the schools that are not destroyed -- in the cities where we have maximum of maximum of schools operating, that can operate. Now, in the capital, we cannot open one school and not the other. But some of the schools, they want to operate right now.
They say, is there a stance (ph)? Is there some facilities that, if we can help them, they're willing to open very rapidly?
BELLERIVE: Monday, yes.
AMANPOUR: Regarding the trafficking problem, the United States is saying that along with UNICEF, the Red Cross and other organizations, they're putting procedures in place to try to crack down on that and make sure it doesn't happen.
And also, regarding the furious adoptions, they're also saying we're going to have to monitor that very carefully and take that very slowly so that only legal adoptions take place.
Regarding the education, you heard the prime minister say that that would open again this Monday where it's possible. I found out more about Haiti's system, which is in total collapse right here in Port-au-Prince.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Joseph has come to buy flowers. He needs them for his cousin's funeral wreath. "The earthquake crushed the house," he says. "And my cousin was under the rubble."
Joseph tells us that 19-year-old Jerah (ph) was a college student studying economics. He was part of Haiti's future, which is now practically flattened beneath buildings like these. Half the country's schools, colleges and the main universities have been destroyed or badly damaged.
DOMINIQUE HURTOUD, EDUCATOR: Many, many training and university schools collapsed on their youth. And those students were -- they were the next...
AMANPOUR (on camera): The local (ph) people.
HURTOUD: Yes. The next generation coming up to work in society.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Dominique Hurtoud is an educator, now volunteering at one of the capital's teaming hospitals. And so are these three schoolgirls. They're sorting boxes of food, supplies and medicines that are pouring in now.
Jessica's 11. She says that this work makes her feel good, like she's helping her country. But she can't wait for her private school to open up again and to find her friends, her teachers, and her peace of mind.
JESSICA VIEUX, VOLUNTEER: I can't see all those things.
AMANPOUR (on camera): Which things?
VIEUX: People that are dying, crying, those kind of things.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Suddenly, children are helping the wounded, or they're wounded themselves, or else they're sticking close to their injured parents. There's no relief for their pain and stress. There are no classes now. Indeed, their whole school system was traumatized even before the earthquake.
The U.N. says about half of Haiti's children attended primary school and fewer than two percent finished secondary school. Public schools are practically nonexistent, so 90 percent of Haiti's schools are private or parochial, with little accountability for what they teach.
HURTOUD: Most of the school teachers are not teachers. They're just -- and we even have teachers that are barely lit rate.
AMANPOUR: Nearly 40 percent of adults here are illiterate, and yet Haitians value education and officials say that it must be at the heart of the country's recovery, a dialogue that public and private educators were having just before the quake struck.
AMANPOUR: And we have much more on this on our Web site, Amanpour.com, where we have a look at Haiti from the children's perspective.
And next, what does Haiti need most right now? Tents, and lots of them. We'll explain when we're back.
AMANPOUR: When I met Haiti's prime minister, he again thanked the world for this incredible relief effort. And he also made an impassioned plea for more aid, particularly for the homeless, before the world loses interest and before the rain set in.
AMANPOUR: What is the biggest challenge right now? We're still seeing that not enough food and water is getting to the people.
BELLERIVE: It's still coordination, because it's not that we don't have enough food or water, it's how we distribute it. And there is a lot of factors to that.
AMANPOUR: What is the government doing? We've seen now a lot of international donors delivering as much food as they can. It is slow. But what are you doing? Are you going out, your government, to deliver food?
BELLERIVE: Yes. Well, we have a system here normally for small crises. It's under the direction of the minister of interior. And we have a direction of serious (ph) protection.
And normally if we have a crisis that we can end, they are supposed to have reserve to bring food, to bring water, to bring health to the people in some level of health-related assistance. But it's too much for us now, so we are doing what we can in that level.
And mainly, what we are doing is trying to coordinate and to know what is -- because a lot of things are arriving. And I take the opportunity really to thank everybody in the United States and Canada and France and everywhere. Everybody's sending things to Haiti. They're sending money, they're sending food, they're sending whatever, even Pampers.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about shelter. You mentioned tents.
Again, some people are telling me they're practically in tears looking at the sky, thinking the clouds are coming and the rains will fall. There's no heavy tents.
Where are they?
BELLERIVE: I don't know. It's a good question.
Normally we would report that they already sent 20,000 tents in Haiti and 20,000 on their way. But yesterday, when we didn't see the tent and we didn't see any action to organize the shelters, the president himself asked to see the storage place. And we only 3,500 tents.
AMANPOUR: Three thousand five hundred tents. How many is the president asking for?
BELLERIVE: Two hundred thousand.
AMANPOUR: Two hundred thousand. To house how many people?
BELLERIVE: Between 400,000 and 500,000.
AMANPOUR: And would you say that's your most urgent need right now?
BELLERIVE: Clearly, because we have the chance that we have no rain since the 12th of January, and we are very preoccupied about the consequences to have all those people on the streets if it's starting to rain -- public health, security, and a lot of...
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you this. There have also been a lot of questions about the effectiveness of your government.
Where are you? You're not visible. The minister's not visible. The president is not visible. The people feel they're getting no instructions, no leadership.
Who's in charge?
BELLERIVE: We are in charge. And frankly, I don't understand that acquisition, that we are not visible, because I almost feel that I feel more time talking to radio and television than I'm working. I know that is a part of my job and I have to communicate, but I really feel that I've spent too much time doing that. We have so much to do.
We have to take care of basics now, because we have a government, but we don't have a public administration. So we are the instruments, in fact, and we have to do things ourselves.
I don't have a lot of people to delegate right now. And we don't have structure, we don't have buildings to operate. We have to operate sometimes from our car, from our cell phone, making decisions like that.
But it was one of the facts that was important when I went to Montreal, because it was clear for the international community, it was clear even here in Haiti, that there is a government, that there is a partner with whom the donation committee want to discuss and decide.
AMANPOUR: And do you think the world has a moral responsibility, too, or a pragmatic responsibility?
BELLERIVE: I believe it's a more pragmatic responsibility. I don't believe people are following moral responsibilities to help.
They are going to help Haiti because it's cost-effective. It's cheaper than we save people in Miami and Florida, it's cheaper than we save people in Santa Domingo and Barbados. It's cheaper to having run Guantanamo, I believe.
And Haiti could be an interesting market in the near term. We have millions here, and it's a market. It's a market for a second, a third generation of products. So we are not useful now, we could be useful in 10 years.
AMANPOUR: And that's certainly what the leadership and the people are hoping here for, for reconstruction and development coming up.
And next, the power of the people here, one woman who is refusing to allow a natural disaster or a history of violence to stop her country's recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN DOMINIQUE, FOUNDED HAITI'S FIRST RADIO STATION: Every May 18, which is Flag Day, defiantly, he put the Haitian flag in front of the house. And I said, "Father, what is that? What does that mean for you?"
And he said, "That means that you are Haitian. That means that my great grandfather fought here (ph).
"Never forget that. You are Haitian. You are from this land."
"You are not French. You are not British. You are not American. You are Haitian."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Powerful words from Jean Dominique, who ran an independent radio station in Haiti until his politically-motivated murder 10 years ago. Jean Dominique was the subject of a powerful documentary, "The Agronomist," by Jonathan Demme, and you can see more of it on our Web site, Amanpour.com.
I spoke to his widow, Michele Montas. She's a former spokeswoman for the United Nations secretary-general and is now working again for the U.N., here, since this catastrophe. I also spoke with U.S. journalist Amy Wilentz, author of "The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier."
AMANPOUR: Amy Wilentz, Michele Montas, thank you very much for joining me.
MICHELE MONTAS, HAITIAN JOURNALIST: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because you were here, living here when the earthquake struck. Describe it for me.
MONTAS: Well, it was a frightening moment because we didn't know what it was first. You know?
First, it started swaying, and the whole house where I was started swaying. Then everything started jumping as if it was -- you know, the house was going to come off the soil and just jump up. And then you started hearing buildings collapsing.
And it was overwhelming. Overwhelming.
AMANPOUR: And you lost a good friend, the deputy in charge of the U.N., here.
MONTAS: Yes. Yes. In fact, I lost two of them.
The two heads of the mission were French. They were coming to have dinner at my house that night.
AMANPOUR: That very night.
MONTAS: Yes. And they just called me and they said, "We're going to be late because we have a meeting with the Chinese." And, of course, that was the last time I spoke to (INAUDIBLE), a Brazilian, who was supposed to come there.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think today? It's more than two weeks later, still mourning, as everybody is. But what should we take away from the last two weeks?
MONTAS: What I have seen that struck me the most was solidarity, solidarity among Haitians, solidarity from our neighbors, solidarity from the world over. You know?
And I was really struck first by the first two days when there was no international help really present here. You know, Haitians getting Haitians out of the rubble. You know, people being just extracted one piece of block at a time, some of them lived, some couldn't live. And two days later, you know, all the foreign doctors coming in, all the Haitian doctors.
AMANPOUR: Amy, you have been here so long. You've spent a lot of your career writing about Haiti, knowing about Haiti.
What do you think the world needs to know about this country, about its past and about its hope for the future?
AMY WILENTZ, AUTHOR, "HAITI SINCE DUVALIER": Well, I think that people need to understand how proud Haitians are of their past. They're the first and only successful black slave revolution in the history of mankind, and it's the first black republic in the history of mankind.
And because of that status, Haiti suffered a lot. It was a kind of (INAUDIBLE) nation. The United States still had slaves at the time, so they were not recognized by the U.S. The French, whom they defeated as the colonial masters, were not happy with it either and demanded reparations from this poor Haitian nation of slaves, of former slaves.
And so that impoverished Haiti into the future. And really...
AMANPOUR: Until today.
WILENTZ: Until today. I believe that Haiti's still suffering from that initial impoverishment.
AMANPOUR: And yet, it has the raw material. It has the human capital.
WILENTZ: Oh, my gosh. It is the human resources to do almost anything.
Haitians are like, as Michele was saying, ready to get up and go to work. And they're desperate for jobs. They want to work in the reconstruction of Haiti. I see it every day.
AMANPOUR: Michele, what do you think about the political situation? Your own husband was assassinated in political violence around the time of Aristide, so you've been through the turbulence.
How do you see it now? Is Haiti politically on the way up? I'm talking just before the earthquake. How do you see the future politically?
MONTAS: Well, there had been a lot of improvement recently, and a lot of things seemed to be working towards, you know, a better Haiti. But I do think that right now, so many of our top people are gone. So many working at 4:53 when the earthquake struck.
We have lost so many teachers. There were 301 buildings -- they were having a seminar, and they all died.
So it's very difficult right now to see how we are going to be rebuilding all of this. But I would say, like Amy, I think Haitians can do it.
WILENTZ: But they have an instant brain drain, and that's very important. In that moment of the earthquake, they lost a lot of really valuable people. And as many of my Haitian friends are saying, the people who were at work at that hour were the best workers.
AMANPOUR: And that would be a brain drain on top of a brain drain.
WILENTZ: Right. So many have already left for a better economy to the states and to France.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, the United States, world powers are promising long-term aid, not just disaster relief.
Do you think this is a moment where the international community will do something different and rethink its strategy towards eradicating poverty and creating a stable entity?
WILENTZ: One of the things that I think is really important is to figure out ways to include even this crippled Haitian government in the process. Not to load them with money and say do with it what you will, but to at least to include them with cooperation and coordination so they are empowered by the movement so they can take charge of their own lives.
MONTAS: And not just, Christiane, the national government, but also the local government. We have about 200,000 Haitians -- I think more than that -- that have gone to the province towns where they were from originally. And you have a drain on the schools, you have -- a number of people have gone there because they have to escape, to run away from Port- au-Prince.
Now, it is the time for a true decentralization to take place in Haiti.
MONTAS: Decentralization, for teachers to be there. And since we have lost so many, that Haitians from the diaspora come back to teach in those provinces.
AMANPOUR: Because, as you wrote, people think of Haiti as Port-au- Prince.
WILENTZ: Right, there's an earthquake in Port-au-Prince, there's an earthquake in Haiti.
AMANPOUR: Where as the reality is that it's not the whole of this country that's been destroyed.
MONTAS: No. There is life out there. There is life out there.
In fact, the experience that I have had in the last few days, you know, people from (INAUDIBLE) bringing me food, you know, because they have food and they know that we have shortages in Port-au-Prince. So, I can distribute food around me. So, I think there is that sense that the rest of the country can now help Port-au-Prince.
AMANPOUR: And how do you see rebuilding, briefly? Is it raising everything and starting again? I mean, just the houses.
WILENTZ: Well, so much has to be raised. I mean, I think that about 80 percent of Port-au-Prince has been destroyed, and it has to come down or it will hurt people. Say there's another earthquake, those things are going to fall. So all that stuff has to come down.
Then, I don't think you can really abandon Port-au-Prince. It's a historic place. You can't just say, OK, I'm going to put it somewhere else. You have to rebuild it, but maybe smaller and, of course, stronger.
AMANPOUR: And it's a way of giving jobs, as well.
MONTAS: Yes. I think it's one unique opportunity to start giving people jobs right now, to start picking up the debris, to start, you know, helping people, because there is a lot of care that can be done by Haitians for Haitians. I'm talking about people who have been amputated and need they need the care of their families.
Give one member of the family a job, and they can take care of their own. You know, there has to be jobs created.
AMANPOUR: All right. On that note, thank you very much, Amy Wilentz and Michele Montas.
MONTAS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And in terms of jobs and reconstruction, Haiti is a big issue among business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I asked Britain's Conservative Party leader David Cameron about that and what he'll do about Afghanistan if he becomes prime minister. He visited British troops there last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called "Little Heathrow." You get through it a lot faster than you do big Heathrow, and we're getting on to a helicopter to go up to (INAUDIBLE) help.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back.
Haiti's plight is very much on the minds of world leaders who are meeting in Davos, Switzerland, including President Clinton, who made a plea for investment and to help reconstruct this place. One of the leaders there is also the head of Britain's opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron. Britain will have an election this year and, for now, opinion polls give Cameron a big lead.
In a moment, I'll speak to him. But first, we have the report by CNN's Max Foster in London.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Cameron was educated at the grandest of English private schools, Eton College, followed by Oxford University, a privileged education his opponents won't let him forget.
GORDON BROWN, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Their inheritance tax policy seems to have been dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton.
FOSTER (on-screen): Cameron lives here in London's uber-trendy Notting Hill. He can often be seen riding around the area on his bike.
(voice-over): He doesn't trade on his personal life, only occasionally letting cameras into his home. His son, Ivan, had cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Ivan died last year at the age of 6. Cameron described him simply as wonderful.
Cameron, though, does trade on the theme of personal responsibility.
CAMERON: Responsibility is central to my beliefs, my politics and the change I want to bring to this country.
FOSTER: That translates, for example, into automatic prison sentences for crimes committed with knives. His foreign policy, though, isn't so clear-cut. He seems more cautious about sending troops into battle, but doesn't say what changes he'd make.
CAMERON: We've also got to think much more carefully whether Britain should get involved in a foreign conflict and, if so, how to cope with the consequences.
FOSTER: A clear nod there to the chaos that followed the invasion of Iraq, although he says Britain is doing the right thing in Afghanistan.
He seems to suggest that a Conservative government would focus more on domestic security. And on Britain's relationship with the United States, Cameron says the two nations should be best friends, but adds we should never be frightened of saying no to America. Cameron hasn't said how he would translate that view into action.
And on Europe, a question that has divided his party, whether Britain should get closer to Europe or not, he hasn't taken sides between the pro- European wing and its passionate Euro-skeptics.
The Tory leader comes across well on camera and is often ahead of his rival, Gordon Brown, in the polls. That's why he's the headline act for the Conservatives ahead of this year's general election.
If he wins, though, will that mean Britain plays a different role on the world stage? Again, his performance is popular, but the script isn't yet clear.
Max Foster, CNN, London.
AMANPOUR: I spoke with the British Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, about many of these issues. He was in a very snowy Davos.
AMANPOUR: David Cameron, thank you very much for joining us from Davos.
AMANPOUR: One of the main issues that has come up in Davos is Haiti. Since we're here right now, and in the aftermath of this terrible earthquake, can I ask you what you think is the best route to reconstruction here?
CAMERON: I think what's happening in Davos is clearly people understand that we're still in the emergency phase of what's happening in Haiti. And there's still a desperate need to get food to people, to get water -- the shortage of tents. All these things people are very aware of, and the emergency phase goes on.
But there is a sense here that, as we start to build back, we need to build back better. We've got to make sure that, as we start the reconstruction of Haiti, that we avoid the mistakes of the past, that we give these people a better future.
I also think there's quite a lot of work here being done on learning the lessons of how we respond to emergencies like this, not least because in a world of climate change and growing populations, there will tragically be other events like this where we need to make sure the international response is as fast and as good as it can be.
AMANPOUR: So do you think then perhaps Haiti may be sort of a new paradigm, a new way to -- to rethink how to approach global poverty, how to bring something other than Band-Aids to places like this place?
CAMERON: Well, I think the first thing we'll have to learn is actually -- is think about, if you like the Band-Aid phase, we do have to think about those vital first 24, 48, 72 hours, when there's an earthquake situation like this, and work out how best the international community -- and individual countries have got to ask themselves, how can we better coordinate a response so it's clear who's going to do what in those vital first few hours?
I think that's one of the lessons learned -- exercises that needs to be undertaken.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you then about another conference that is going on in London. We've had the one-day Afghan conference. You met with President Karzai in London. And you know that obviously the -- Britain has the second-biggest fighting force there, after the United States.
What do you think about, for instance, President Obama's surge, and then the idea of starting a withdrawal some 18 months later?
CAMERON: Well, let's start with the surge. I mean, I think finally in Afghanistan we've got the right strategy. It's a strategy that recognizes that we were short of troops and boots on the ground, and that needed to be increased.
And I would pay tribute to what the American people are doing, in terms of putting those extra troops particularly into the side of the country where the British have done very good work, but have been quite difficult -- quite badly overstretched. That's making a huge difference.
But alongside the military commitment, what's been necessary is more coordination of the civilian effort, of aid, and a proper political strategy so that there's a prospect of this country running itself, providing its own security.
And I think what we see now is those elements coming together. That is very good news. And I think we all now need to get behind this strategy.
AMANPOUR: So if you were prime minister after the next general election, when would you start bringing troops home, in 2010, in 2011?
CAMERON: Well, the way I see it is the first thing -- if I become a prime minister after the election, the first thing is to get right behind this strategy, to give everything we can to make this work. That means a proper war cabinet in London. It means putting our Whitehall on a war footing. It means getting everything we need to the front line in the way that it should be done.
As soon as we can hand over areas to lead Afghan control, we should do that, and that will enable us to reduce troop numbers. But as I say, I would not want to set an artificial deadline about that. I want to do it based on success. It's something we want to do rather than something we can endlessly set new deadlines for when we believe it can be done.
AMANPOUR: You've also spoken -- whether in regard to Afghanistan or the Iraq War, you've spoken about having the need to have a proper reconstruction process, a proper infrastructure for what happens after the war fighting.
Do you think that that wasn't done in the Iraq and the Afghan campaigns?
CAMERON: I think we've got to learn the lessons. I mean, one of the points of the Iraq inquiry going on in London right now is we learn the lessons of what went wrong in Iraq and -- and what we can do better. And, again, in Afghanistan we've done some very good work, but there are again lessons to learn.
I think one of the things for the British is that we have fantastically brave and courageous armed forces. We have considerable expertise in development assistance. But there are times we need to bring that together.
It's in that golden period, after the military have actually done the hard work on the ground and provided some peace and stability, that you need development to go in straight away. And so we're looking at the idea of a -- of a reconstruction stabilization force that brings the military and civilian aid together rather more quickly.
I think the Americans actually already do a lot of this work very effectively. I've seen it for myself in -- in Afghanistan, meeting with, for instance, (INAUDIBLE) of the Marine Corps there. I think we can do better at that, and a conservative government would make those changes.
AMANPOUR: You called also -- you mentioned the Chilcot inquiry on Iraq going on in London. And today, Prime Minister Blair has been testifying.
You've called it "an establishment stitch-up." Do you think that still holds after today's testifying?
CAMERON: You know, I always warned that there would be a danger of a stitch-up if we didn't have proper open meetings in front of the public with evidence taken in public. I also called repeatedly in the House of Commons for us to get this thing underway well in advance of the general election.
Under pressure, Prime Minister Brown eventually allowed that to happen, and we have the inquiry underway, which is right. I think that it's doing -- it seems to be doing good work. The questioning seems to be robust.
But what really matters is not one day's evidence or one person answering questions. It's whether we as a country and whether we with our allies learn the lessons of the mistakes that were made in Iraq, and that will be the real test of this inquiry.
AMANPOUR: So the Tories supported the -- the government going to war in Iraq. Would you still have taken that position?
CAMERON: Well, I voted in favor of going to war as a back-bench M.P., and I don't want to go back and try and wriggle out of how I voted. I think anyone who voted that way should face up to their responsibilities of what they did. And I would say, for all that's happened, that Iraq is definitely better off without Saddam Hussein and without his brutal regime.
But do we need to learn the lessons? Yes, of course we do. Was accurate information at all times put in front of the House of Commons? With a dodgy dossier, I think we can say, no, it wasn't. Were big mistakes made after the invasion, with the disbanding of the Iraqi army and police force, and the -- the failure to get proper reconstruction in, in time, early on? Of course mistakes were made. And I think those are the lessons that I think we really need to learn.
AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. Cameron. Stand by. We're going to have more right after a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON BROWN, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Mr. Speaker, once again, we cannot ask questions about the economy or about swine flu or about the difficult decisions that we have got to take in the world. Once again, he reduces everything to personality. We're getting -- we're getting on with the business of governing.
CAMERON: If the prime minister got out and knocked on a few more doors, he'd realize that his leadership is the issue. He likes to talk about these issues of substance. His failure to reform welfare, his failure to deal with the deficit, his failure to run a united cabinet, they've all got two things in common: They're failures, and they're his failures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We're back again with our interview with David Cameron, leader of the opposition Tory Party in Davos.
Mr. Cameron, we just showed there a little clip of you challenging the current prime minister, Gordon Brown, on what you call his failures.
Let me ask you this -- an election is perhaps bound to happen around May in England. You hold a commanding lead right now. Once I talked to you when you had just become leader of the opposition, and you told me that, you know, you weren't going to come in as prime minister and just change for the sake of changing, you didn't want fake policies, fake changes, and that there was some element of the Blair government, and the Blair policies that you agreed with.
Do you still feel that way?
CAMERON: Yes, I do. I think that change for change's sake is not what we should be about. There are some good things that have happened over the last decade in the United Kingdom, giving the Bank of England independence and setting interest rates was a good step. We'd keep that. The minimum wage has actually worked well in the U.K., and we'd keep that. Some of the changes in education and health care, would keep.
But generally, I think when we look across the piece, you can see that the economic model we've been pursuing has been one that was too much of a financial bubble, and we need a much more strongly, broadly based economic growth.
And there's some -- many, many changes in the delivery of our public services -- health care, education, and crime -- where there's a record of failure that we need to put right.
AMANPOUR: Let me quickly touch on some of the financial issues. At Davos, I believe you said that you supported the idea of banking regulations.
You said that as prime minister you'd go toe to toe with the banks. I think you're a bit out of step with some of the top financial CEOs over there.
Will you do that, similar to what President Obama is saying in the United States?
CAMERON: Well, I've just spoken at the big lunch for -- for British businesses and -- and had a very good reception at that meeting, so I wouldn't quite agree with the way you've put the question.
What I think President Obama has done is two very important statements which I hope that everyone can build on.
I think the idea of saying to banks, look, you know that taxpayers are going to have to bail you out if you get into difficulty, so in return it's fair for taxpayers to ask through their government that you shouldn't engage in the most risky activities, you know, using retail deposits to do so. I think that is a sensible step forward.
I also think the idea of looking at a banking levy -- a levy on leverage, as it were -- to make sure that future problems we actually have the funds to deal with, I think, again, this is sensible to deal with this problem of -- of banks having effectively a moral hazard problem, where they know that taxpayers in the end won't have to bail them out.
AMANPOUR: You have been trying to put a human face on the Tory Party. You've called yourself a liberal conservative. You've talked about compassionate conservatism.
But isn't there going to be sort of an ideological issue there? Because if you go forward with a lot of the spending cuts, that that's sort of -- sort of combats the idea of keeping, you know, those of the lower -- lowest ends of the social and economic strata from suffering any more pain?
CAMERON: I think the problem we have in Britain -- we just have to face up to it. And I think above all that's what British people want their politicians to do. We are borrowing this year -- you know, it's 13 percent of our GDP. We have the worst budget deficit of any developed country, and we have to face that problem.
And I think it would be totally irresponsible as the government is doing to just put off dealing with that problem to sometime in the future. We need to make a start on dealing with it this year, 2010.
Now, of course that does mean some tough decisions. But the sense I get from the British people is they know we have a problem.
They know we have too much debt. They know that our deficit is unsustainable. And they want a government that's going to give the leadership to say, "Come on. Let's deal with this together."
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about the relationship between Britain and the United States, particularly in one key area, and that is the fight against terrorism around the world.
You have talked about the special relationship. One of your challenges -- the Liberal Democrat head Nick Clegg -- has written that, "The U.S. is our ally, but we are not its servant. So in Britain we have a simple choice:
Do we persist in believing that a limpet-like allegiance to the special relationship will serve our interests? Or do we drop that sentimental attachment and do what's good for us?"
How do you respond to that, particularly in the area of terrorism?
CAMERON: Well, I think he's putting rather a false choice. I mean, Britain and America do have a special relationship. It's not a sentimental one. I think it's based on some very real things from our history. We fought through northern France together to rid the continent of Nazism. We stood together after 9/11.
I think of -- wife was in New York on 9/11. I couldn't get a hold of her for a few hours, as many British people were caught up in those dreadful events. The fact that our two countries -- we share common history, common values. We want to achieve so many of the same things in the world.
Is Britain obviously the junior partner in that relationship, but -- but can we make it -- make it work for both of us? Yes, I believe that we should.
AMANPOUR: David Cameron, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.
CAMERON: Great pleasure. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So tell us what you think about David Cameron's policies on issues such Afghanistan, Iraq, and many of the other things he spoke about. Do you think they will work?
Log on to Amanpour.com/facebook, where we have a conversation about the upcoming election in Britain.
And next, our "PostScript." Here in Haiti, we talked to the rescuers who refuse to give up.
AMANPOUR: Those French rescuers are being hailed as heroes here in Port-au-Prince. The teenage girl they pulled out had stayed alive for 15 days under the rubble, a new record for survival after an earthquake.
And rescuers from other countries are also refusing to quit, even though the official rescue mission has been called off. Among them, a team from Mexico that's been searching through the ruins of the upscale, flattened Hotel Montana.
Look at this report by cameraman Peter Morris (ph) and producer Alec Mirren (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We troopers (ph), we are working in the name of the Mexican people. And we have been all over the world.
This is one of the worst. This is so bad because lots of people died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you say, "No, I don't feel fear," it's not true. It's bad. It's bad, because your fear is your security.
Take a break and say, "OK, you know," because we were with God, and God has (ph) the decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside, a man, with his child, 4 years old. We are making new tunnels. We are going through the rubble. We are hearing, we are smelling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not scared to go inside. I'm scared that somebody's just stepping down, stepping on the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pain of this lady, the hope of this lady to find her family, the time is running, and we want to try to rescue alive the family.
AMANPOUR: Sadly, though, the rescuers only found bodies there, but their guts and determination and the resilience of the Haitian people show that hope does remain alive. The emergency, though, is not over yet, and Haiti is turning its attention to the mammoth task of rebuilding once it gets through this terrible emergency phase.
And that's our report from Port-au-Prince.
During the week, you can watch our program on CNN International, and you can see our daily podcast on Amanpour.com.
Goodbye from all of us here in Haiti.