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Haiti's President Meets With Haitian-Americans In Miami

MIAMI (CBS4) -- Haiti's president is in Miami Saturday to meet with Haitian-Americans. It's his first official trip to South Florida.

Michel Martelly attended a "Haitian Diaspora Appreciation Day" rally Saturday afternoon in a soccer park in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood. At 3:30 PM, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado hosted Martelly at Little Haiti's Emmanuel Sanon Soccer Park for a free community rally.

Martelly's day of events began at 10 am with a  brunch at FIUs Kovens Center, where officially recognized the local Haitian diaspora.

The brunch was hosted by Former Miami Heat Great Tim Hardaway, Chazz Woodson, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre and the City Council.

A private reception hosted by Michael Capponi, and sponsored by the Haiti Investment Team and the Soho Beach House will be held at 7 PM at the Soho Beach House at 4385 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach.

During this invite-only event, potential investors in larger scale sustainable projects in Haiti will have the opportunity to liaise with the President.

Martelly has been reaching out to the 2 million Haitian emigrants whose earnings abroad have long helped keep the struggling Caribbean country afloat.

Martelly once lived abroad himself, in South Florida.

Haiti's diaspora mostly live in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Residency requirements prohibit them from owning land or running for office in their homeland.

Another rally and more meetings with investors also planned for the Haitian community in New York.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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