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Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

Red Cross funds for Haitian relief have gone missing

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2015

(Via Eschaton)

Laura Sullivan, NPR:

When a devastating earthquake leveled Haiti in 2010, millions of people donated to the American Red Cross. The charity raised almost half a billion dollars. It was one of its most successful fundraising efforts ever.

The American Red Cross vowed to help Haitians rebuild, but after five years the Red Cross’ legacy in Haiti is not new roads, or schools, or hundreds of new homes. It’s difficult to know where all the money went.

NPR and ProPublica went in search of the nearly $500 million and found a string of poorly managed projects, questionable spending and dubious claims of success, according to a review of hundreds of pages of the charity’s internal documents and emails, as well as interviews with a dozen current and former officials.
NPR and ProPublica

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people, but the number of permanent homes the charity has built is six.

The organization, which in 2010 had a $100 million deficit, out-raised other charities by hundreds of millions of dollars — and kept raising money well after it had enough for its emergency relief. But where exactly did that money go?

Ask a lot of Haitians — even the country’s former prime minister — and they will tell you they don’t have any idea.

“Five hundred million in Haiti is a lot of money,” says Jean-Max Bellerive, who was prime minister until 2011. “I’m not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. It doesn’t add up for me.”

On a recent day, Bellerive was sipping coffee in his living room, high above Port-au-Prince, with Joel Boutroue, who was the United Nations deputy special representative in Haiti before the earthquake and an advisor to the Haitian government afterward. Boutroue says he can’t account for where the nearly $500 million went either.

They considered the Red Cross’ claim on its website and press releases: That all the money went to help 4.5 million Haitians get “back on their feet.”

“No, no, not possible,” Bellerive says. “We don’t have that population in the area affected by the earthquake.”

The charity’s own documents, however, give some insight: Much of the money never reached people in need.

The Red Cross gave much of the money to other groups to do the hands-on work, resulting in additional fees.

First the Red Cross took a customary administrative cut, then the charities that received the money took their own fees. And then, according to the Red Cross’ records, the charity took out an additional amount to pay for what it calls the “program costs incurred in managing” these third-party projects.

In one of the programs reviewed by NPR and ProPublica, these costs ate up a third of the money that was supposed to help Haitians.

Posted in abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, Haiti | Comments Off on Red Cross funds for Haitian relief have gone missing

One of these is not like the others

Posted by Charles II on February 6, 2014

Kim Ives, Haiti-Liberte

President Joseph Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly is shoveling money out of the national treasury to family and friends through expensive foreign junkets, aircraft rentals, vehicle acquisitions, and irregular withdrawals from Haiti’s central bank, according to Moïse Jean-Charles, a Senator representing Haiti’s North department.

From DemocracyNow:

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s talk about Michel Martelly for a minute, the new president of Haiti. We were down there all together, Dan and Kim, for this election. When Martelly came into power, within a few weeks, at least three camps, housing approximately a thousand Haitians displaced from the earthquake, were destroyed by police in the Delmas suburb of Port-au-Prince. And he has said he will restore the army. The significance of this?

KIM IVES: Yeah, I think he’s going to go after the people. He said in an interview that these people had homes, in fact, that they were using the camps to party. I think that’s what he was saying to an Al Jazeera crew. I mean, his cynicism on that front is incredible. And here’s a guy who was the principal cheerleader for the 1991 and the 2004 coups. I mean, he’s made no bones about it that he’s a representative and friend of the army.

State Dept.

SECRETARY KERRY: It is a great pleasure for me to welcome President Michel Martelly from Haiti, and really with great respect for the road that he has put Haiti on and the enormous commitment that he has made to transition from reconstruction into a long-term development program. And under his leadership, elections are now on the horizon, which could for the first time provide the filling out of all of the electoral positions to Haiti and begin to stabilize and hopefully build on the progress that he has achieved with respect to economic development, the improvement of the economy, the improvement of health. The indicators have gone up, and that’s the direction that we want to see it going.

Posted in Haiti, State Department | 3 Comments »

Who is smearing Jean Bertrand Aristide?

Posted by Charles II on March 19, 2012

KPFA interviews Senate/White House aide Burt Wides and attorney Ira Kurzban on where charges of corruption and drugs against Haitian President Aristide originated.

It sounds sort of like a cookie cutter of the accusations against Honduran President Zelaya. Mary Anastasia O’Grady is a lead accuser, for example. It’s like they don’t even care about being obvious on running these smears.

The willingness of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to join the persecution of Lavalas is disturbing.

Posted in Haiti | Comments Off on Who is smearing Jean Bertrand Aristide?

US pretends to help Haiti

Posted by Charles II on January 8, 2012

Bill Quigley and Amber Ramanauskas, truthout have one of those mind-bending posts about foreign aid that makes one think that the US government should never be trusted with charitable works abroad. Haiti supposedly got $1.6B to reconstruct from the earthquake. But a look at the fine print reveals that:

The overall $1.6 billion allocated for relief by the US was spent much the same way according to an August 2010 report by the US Congressional Research Office: $655 million was reimbursed to the Department of Defense; $220 million to Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants to individual US states to cover services for Haitian evacuees; $350 million to USAID disaster assistance; $150 million to the US Department of Agriculture for emergency food assistance; $15 million to the Department of Homeland Security for immigration fees, and so on.

OK, so $655M off the top of our charitable aid goes to…the US military.

So, from the US aid, only $725M even went to Haiti. And this has not been deployed effectively:

Nearly two years after the quake, less than 1 percent of the $412 million in US funds specifically allocated for infrastructure reconstruction activities in Haiti had been spent by USAID and the US State Department and only 12 percent has even been obligated according to a November 2011 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Other countries have mostly pretended to donate money:

In March 2010, UN countries pledged $5.3 billion over two years and a total of $9.9 billion over three years in a conference March 2010. The money was to be deposited with the World Bank and distributed by the IHRC. The IHRC was co-chaired by Bill Clinton and the Haitian Prime Minister. By July 2010, Bill Clinton reported only 10 percent of the pledges had been given to the IHRC.

And then there’s the NGOs. Their spending is difficult to trace, which should not be the case for organizations subsidized by the US tax code. In some cases, their projects have been questionable, like $2M spent by the Red Cross to build a luxury hotel. In other cases–and the Haitian aid situation overall is riddled with this problem–there is a suggestion of cronyism. Instead of hiring local people and using local companies, foreign companies are brought in at great expense:

The Center for Economic and Policy Research, the absolute best source for accurate information on this issue, analyzed all the 1490 contracts awarded by the US government after the January 2010 earthquake until April 2011 and found only 23 contracts went to Haitian companies. Overall the US had awarded $194 million to contractors, $4.8 million to the 23 Haitian companies, about 2.5 percent of the total. On the other hand, contractors from the Washington DC area received $76 million or 39.4 percent of the total. As noted above, the UN documented that only four tenths of one percent of international aid went to Haitian NGOs.

And the net upshot?

Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two months ago, not two years

A million people in refugee camps, cholera still raging (though with low lethality), no reconstruction of water purification…. This is a catalog of failure not just of government, but of charitable organizations, and of the private sector. They all have forgotten that real people are suffering and dying because of their disorganization, greed, and incompetence.
Update: And now we have the explanation for the farmers “helped” by USAID. Jacob Kushner, IwatchNews (via t/o):

One important USAID program in Haiti does include some rice and corn growers. The $127 million Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources hopes to boost Haitian agriculture through training, better seeds and the use of new fertilizers. USAID claims to have helped 9,700 farmers increase their output since the program began in 2009.

Many Haitian farmers rejected the program, however, after they discovered that 475 tons of seeds were hybrids donated by Monsanto, the world’s largest developer of genetically modified seeds. Unlike traditional crops, hybrids do not produce new seeds that can be collected and planted the following growing season, meaning farmers in Haiti would need to begin purchasing the seeds from Monsanto or another company once donations stopped.

Everything is corporate welfare for American corporations.

Posted in Haiti, State Department | 5 Comments »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Haiti, propaganda, State Department | 2 Comments »

US and Hillary role in legitimizing sham Haitian election exposed by Wikileaks

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2011

Dan Coughlin, DemocracyNow:

DAN COUGHLIN: And what these cables show, Amy, is really remarkable. It’s like the curtain being pulled from behind the Wizard of Oz, a really inside look at what the U.S. policy is in Haiti, the materially poorest country in the Western hemisphere. So they’re blocking a preferential trade deal with Venezuela that means huge stability for the Haitian people, stable electricity supply, $100 million in extra funding for the government, which they use for social programs.

We see the manipulation, extraordinary manipulation, of Haiti’s presidential election, where, quote-unquote, the international community recognizes that the [right-wing oligarchical] opposition is “emasculated.” So why are we bothering to have an election, if the most popular political party [Fanmi Lavalas] has been banned?

Kim Ives and Dan Coughlin, The Nation:

At a December 1, 2009, meeting, a group of international election donors, including ambassadors from Brazil, Canada, Spain and the United States, concluded that “the international community has too much invested in Haiti’s democracy to walk away from the upcoming elections, despite its imperfections,” in the words of the EU representative, according to US Ambassador Kenneth Merten’s December 2009 cable.

Despite the Lavalas exclusion, the European Union and Canada proposed that donors “help level the playing field”—they could, for instance, “purchase radio air time for opposition politicians to plug their candidacies.” They were presumably referring to “opposition candidates” who would come from parties other than the FL.

That plan was nixed by the United Nations, but when the elections finally did take place on November 28, 2010, followed by a runoff on March 20, 2011, Washington and the international donor community played an influential role in determining their outcome.

When the first-round results were disputed, international donors arranged for an evaluation by the Organization of American States, which pronounced that pro-coup candidate Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, 50, a former konpa musician, should face another neo-Duvalierist candidate, Mirlande Manigat, in the final round. Martelly emerged as the victor in the runoff.

Less than 23 percent of Haiti’s registered voters had their vote counted in either of the two presidential rounds, the lowest electoral participation rate in the hemisphere since 1945, according to the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Furthermore, the second round was illegal because the eight-member CEP could never muster the five votes necessary to ratify the first-round results.

These elections were scheduled for February 2010, but were delayed because of the earthquake that struck on January 12th. Hillary Clinton, 1/20/2010, general dissemination to Chiefs of Mission and Charge d’Affaires, from Wikileaks:

Click to see memo Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Haiti, Hillary Clinton, State Department | 2 Comments »

The oil link between the Haitian and Honduran coups

Posted by Charles II on June 3, 2011

The Nation is publishing a series of articles on Wikileaks regarding Haiti. Today on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonazalez interviewed Kim Ives and Dan Coughlin who have been writing for the Nation. One particularly interesting aspect has to do with subsidized oil offered to Haiti by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Some excerpts from the DemocracyNow interview:

KIM IVES: …It’s really amazing to see an ambassador pushing around a president, and all his officials telling them what to do, that they don’t understand this, they don’t understand that, trying to tell them what Haiti’s interests are. It’s the epitome of arrogance. [compare with Ambassador Ford’s attempt to push Zelaya around]

DAN COUGHLIN: … People don’t understand about the dominant role that the U.S. plays there. It’s the fourth-largest U.S. embassy anywhere in the world. The U.N. mission in Haiti today is the third-largest U.N. mission anywhere in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: For the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, they would save $100 million a year [from the oil deal with Venezuela]?

DAN COUGHLIN: It’s not just the $100 million a year, which is huge for Haiti. It’s 10 percent of the Haitian government budget…

DAN COUGHLIN: … But also, it’s part of a package where you’re getting electricity to Haiti. And this is something that even the U.S. embassy recognized. In one cable, they wrote how—that this PetroCaribe deal “is very good for the country,” wrote the chargé d’affaires for the U.S. embassy in one of the cables. Port-au-Prince, Gonaives and Cap-Haïtien now have electricity thanks to Venezuela and Cuban technicians. “Haiti receives shipments of PetroCaribe fuel every two weeks.” And, “In addition to three power plants already in operation and promises to modernize the airport in Cap Haïtien, Venezuela’s oil refinery project,” etc. There’s tangible benefits to the Haitian people, but Chevron, Mobil, Exxon Mobil, and the U.S. embassy tried to block this.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, one of the cables talked about that the Cubans wanted to replace two million light bulbs throughout Port-au-Prince at a cost of $4 million, but that that would save Haiti, I think, $70 million annually in electricity costs. And yet the U.S. embassy was opposed to it.

DAN COUGHLIN: Yeah, what’s remarkable, again, is that we have Venezuela and Cuba helping Haiti out. The Haitians say, “This is nothing ideological. We just want electricity and development for our country.” And sure enough, what happens, in a matter of years, Port-au-Prince, the main cities, most of the country, electricity production skyrockets. People now can read their books at night. Hospitals have power. Schools, factories, homes have electrical power that they didn’t used to have under 50 years of U.S. development aid. All of a sudden, in two or three years, Venezuela and Cuban technicians come in, patch a few power stations together, three of them, bring in the oil supply, a steady oil supply that benefits Haiti, and sure enough, there’s electrical power. So, it’s an extraordinary transformation that happened.

This makes it clear that US policy is to keep Haiti desperately poor by blocking even such basic measures as efficient light bulbs. This alone is shocking, and there is much more. But the thing that stands out is just how threatening to US interests Chavez’s subsidized oil was. It was clearly a factor in both the Haitian and Honduran coups.

Posted in Haiti, Honduras | Comments Off on The oil link between the Haitian and Honduran coups

Titide has landed!

Posted by Charles II on March 18, 2011

Randal Archibold, of the soon-to-be-paywalled NYT:

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest who rose to become the nation’s first democratically elected president before being forced into exile twice, returned home…

Archibold (or his editor), fronting for the State Department adds this:

Amid an armed uprising, led in part by former members of the Haitian Army that Mr. Aristide had disbanded, he left Haiti on Feb. 29, 2004. He has said American diplomats kidnapped him, but the United States has long denied the accusation.

Actually, he has said that American diplomats and military kidnapped both him and his security force using as a threat US-trained “rebels” widely believed to be in the employ of the CIA, with an additional threat the US military forces that surrounded the presidential residence. I guess that doesn’t meet the NYT’s style guidelines.

But at last Haiti has a leader who may be able to end the ineptitude of the non-profits under Sultan Clinton and rally the people to rebuild this shattered nation.

Posted in Haiti | 3 Comments »

Haiti agonistes. Did US assassinate Brazilian general?

Posted by Charles II on January 20, 2011

Amy Goodman had a fascinating interview with Kim Ives over events in Haiti, especially the arrival of the notorious mass murderer, the dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Ives says that:

The Organization of American States is ordering Préval to change the results of the election held on November 28th, which was a completely ridiculous election marred by terrible irregularities. …

Préval is resisting this and has not responded to the OAS report and seems to question its methodology. So, we think that Duvalier’s arrival there is really an effort to pressure Préval and show him—in a way, rally the Duvalierist base, because he really is the symbol of that old guard that left power 25 years ago.

The occupying powers are willing to be ruthless in order to set up a compliant regime:

There apparently was even a meeting that the former OAS ambassador to Haiti, a fellow called Seitenfus, who has since been dismissed because of his frankness, made a—was in a meeting where they were actually discussing how to get a plane to ship Préval out [i.e., to kidnap him, as was done to former President Aristide].

Haiti remains the only militarily occupied nation in the Western hemisphere. It is suffering under the results of the earthquake, 1.3 million people still living under tents and tarps. Cholera has killed closing on 4,000 people, and no end in sight. You have a tremendous level of poverty and misery in the country. So, the U.S.’s main concern is not all of this, but simply how to put a façade on this occupation of the country, how to basically put their people in. And for the first time in 20 years, since Aristide’s election—first election in 1990, they have two neo-Duvalierist candidates who are positioned to take power through this completely bogus election.

And then this bombshell:

AMY GOODMAN: And the newest WikiLeaks documents showing the U.S. pressuring Brazil to also prevent Aristide from returning home?

KIM IVES: Exactly. They’ve been pressuring Brazil. And there’s another interesting WikiLeak that came out today, that the Brazilian general in 2006 who supposedly committed suicide in his hotel room—

AMY GOODMAN: Under MINUSTAH, the U.N. forces.

KIM IVES: Of the U.N. forces, MINUSTAH—was that he may in fact have been assassinated.

The cable was just released by Aftenposten. It has Dominican President Leonel Fernandez speculating that this might have been an assassination. The only person he could think of who might have done such a thing is alleged CIA asset Guy Philippe (sorry, can’t find a better link. But more on the company he keeps here).

This is truly remarkable. If it is confirmed, it’s going to end US influence over Brazil. Even the military types won’t like the idea that one of their own can just be snuffed out.

Posted in Haiti | 6 Comments »

Truthglimpse into the dark heart of American empire

Posted by Charles II on November 28, 2010

One of the gutsiest journalists ever, Kevin Pina, jas made a documentary about the coup against Aristide. It will be available on Pay Per View today (November 28th) and on DVD. You can see the trailer here.

We Must Kill the Bandits Poster Art

Posted in Haiti, wrong way to go about it | Comments Off on Truthglimpse into the dark heart of American empire

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