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Caribbean bloc condemns Trump's 'repulsive' language

© AFP | US President Donald Trump speaks at a meeting in the White House in Washington, DC, on January 11, 2018

GEORGETOWN (GUYANA) (AFP) - 

The 15-nation Caribbean Community on Saturday condemned US President Donald Trump's use of "repulsive language" to reportedly describe Haiti and African nations.

CARICOM "is deeply disturbed by reports about the use of derogatory and repulsive language by the President of the United States in respect of our member state, Haiti, and other developing countries," the bloc's Guyana-based headquarters said in a statement.

"CARICOM condemns in the strongest terms, the unenlightened views reportedly expressed."

At a White House meeting with Trump on Thursday, lawmakers raised the issue of protections for immigrants from African nations, Haiti and El Salvador.

Trump then reportedly demanded to know why the US should accept immigrants from "shithole countries" rather than -- for instance -- wealthy and overwhelmingly white Norway.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who was present at the meeting, said Trump specifically asked, "Do we need more Haitians?" before launching into a diatribe about African immigration.

As his remarks sparked a global firestorm, the president on Friday denied he ever said "anything derogatory" about the people of Haiti, whose government called Trump's reported remarks racist.

CARICOM expressed full support for the Haitian government's reaction "to this highly offensive reference," said the bloc which includes former British, Dutch and French colonies.

"It should be recalled that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western hemisphere after the United States and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the United States of America," CARICOM said.

The bloc "therefore views this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptable."

The majority of Caribbean citizens are descendants of African slaves, while the ancestors of many others were indentured laborers from India.

© 2018 AFP