State Department solution for Haitian crisis? Spam./updated
Posted by Charles II on December 28, 2011
The State Department sent me no fewer than eleven e-mails today on the wonderful things they’re doing in Haiti. Now, anyone with Internet access can find out that things are a mess, with even water treatment nonfunctional (hence the cholera epidemic) thanks to our obstruction of (presumbaly Aristide’s) development efforts.
And have things improved? Jimmy Carter, November 8th, 2011:
Former President Jimmy Carter: “I’ve only been here one day, and I’ve seen—and we’ve driven through Port-au-Prince and through part of the large city. I don’t see any evidence of building homes for poor families. I see a lot of reconstruction of very large houses, you know, where rich people live.
From Boston Review, Colin Dayan:
Meanwhile there is no sign of the permanent housing that Martelly announced for the 630,000–700,000 Haitians who still live in camps without toilets or running water. Instead mass evictions from the camps have begun…
While reconstruction lags, old prisons in Haiti are being refurbished, and new private prisons are going up. It took about one month after the earthquake for the U.S.-based GEO Group to receive a contract in Haiti for “guard services.”
This kind of puts a different odor on State Department claims to have resettled 64% of the people in refugee camps. Re-settled them… into oblivion? I have to give them points for how they claim to have resolved land ownership issues in a nation where the very contours of the land have been obliterated, but consider the scale: “The enumeration process consists of speaking with IDPs [internally displaced people] to collect information regarding tenure and occupancy, which the community then validates to confirm its accuracy. As of October 2011, IOM had collected, recorded, and validated land tenure and occupancy status of more than 8,800 plots/buildings with USAID support.” In almost two years, they did arrive at the correct solution, namely talk to the people who lived there, but helped probably fewer than 5% of the people affected.
Their achievements in agriculture are slippery and very difficult to evaluate. Take the following claims:
“•Increased agricultural-related income of beneficiary rural households by 76 percent by rehabilitating irrigation systems, rural roads and supporting storage and processing facilities.
•Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers; these have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.”
What is the base from which the increases are evaluated? How many farmers are there in Haiti? To what degree have the improved yields improved national food self-sufficiency? None of these questions can be answered by the information that State provides. According to the CIA Factbook, two-thirds of over 9 million Haitians “depend on the agricultural sector,” though it also says that 38% of the work force is agricultural. So, somewhere between 3.4 million and 6 million Haitians are farmers. Of these, 9700–something like 0.25%–have been helped. Contextualized, the State Department figures sound like a horrific failure.
We re-established the formal institutions of control, their corrupt legislature and police, very quickly. Their claim to be “Supporting a credible election process” is a bad joke– the elections excluded the nation’s largest political party, Fanmi Lavalas, and the occupying powers stepped in after the election to disqualify one of the candidates. And when one starts to parse other claims, one has to ask what they are bragging about: “Since October 2010, USAID has provided legal assistance to more than 4,400 individuals…” Legal Aid Los Angeles helps 67,000 people annually, with 12,000 being given full services. Again, it sounds like USAID is serving about 5% of the people who need help. HOO-raw.
On and on one wades through this State Department bilge, and there is not one drop of remorse for their criminal incompetence, nor for their protection of the gangsters with whom they rule Haiti. Here’s the full roster of their cheerleading propaganda. Read it at peril to your own sense of enthusiasm about our nation’s generosity.
As for me, there’s a reason for the Delete key.
Mark Weisbrot is similarly irritated with the dishonesty of the occupying forces:
For some reason the “international community” thinks that it can get away with anything in Haiti. More than 7,000 Haitians have been killed since October 2010 by the deadly cholera bacteria that UN troops brought to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in January that year.
More than 500,000 have been infected, and the disease – which Haiti has not had in more than a century – is now endemic to the country and will be killing people there for many years to come.
Last week, UN officials once again denied responsibility for the disaster, and were, in my view, publicly dishonest about the available scientific research – some of which was included in the UN’s own report on the epidemic.
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