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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:50 PM


The Clinton-Bush Fund has closed up shop in Haiti: Here are the fruits of neoliberal "charity" [View all]

Last edited Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:44 PM - Edit history (6)

The haitian earthquake occurred January 12, 2010. The Clinton-Bush fund was founded on Jan. 16, 2010. At the time, the PR said the money would go "for the Haitian relief effort".

“At this moment, we’re moving forward with one of the largest relief efforts in our history — to save lives and to deliver relief that averts an even larger catastrophe,” Mr. Obama said. He said that Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton “will ensure that this is matched by a historic effort that extends beyond our government, because America has no greater resource than the strength and the compassion of the American people.”

“I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water,” Mr. Bush said. But he reiterated what the relief organizations have been saying for days. “Just send your cash.” He promised that he and Mr. Clinton would “make sure your money is spent wisely.”

A letter on the new Web site, which went up on Saturday, asks for donations and promises to “channel the collective good will around the globe to help the people of Haiti rebuild their cities, their neighborhoods, and their families.”


From that description, what would you think you were funding as a donor? Emergency food and supplies? Search & rescue? Emergency medical? Clean-up and reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure? Security? Stabilization of water supplies and sanitation & rebuilding of same?

That's what I'd think I was donating to.

The Clinton-Bush fund got $54 million in donations, & some portion of it was from an outpouring of support from small donors after the quake. They've spent it all now & closed up shop -- yet according to recent reports there are still 400,000 people living in tents as refugees, without sanitation, lighting, or even security:


Haiti's biggest city, Port-au-Prince, has not been rebuilt and there are still tent camps in the city:

Power is still iffy, even in the capital. The electric grid has not been rebuilt back to its old capacity, let alone "built back better".

There are *no* plans to bring clean water & sewers or water treatment to Port-au-Prince, not by the Clinton-Bush fund, not by the US, not by other international donors, not by the UN that brought *cholera* to Haiti:

And so far, the U.S. has no public plans to build a clean water or sewer system in Port-au-Prince, even as the country grapples with the world's biggest cholera outbreak that medical researchers say was likely introduced by a U.N. peacekeeping unit after the earthquake. The U.S.'s largest jobs program is a garment manufacturing plant being built in Caracol, 280 kilometers (175 miles) from the capital.


Where has all the money gone, all the money that well-meaning people pulled out of their pocketbooks because they thought they were helping save Haitian lives and rebuild the country?

Well, for things like building sweatshops for offshore capital, like the garment manufacturing plant in the excerpt above. Here's a clue:

“HAITI is open for business”, Michel Martelly, the country’s president since May 2011, likes to proclaim. His government has backed up this talk by making it easier for foreigners to own property and by setting as a goal that Haiti climb into the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s ranking for ease of doing business...

Billions of dollars of aid were pledged to Haiti after the earthquake, amid much talk about “building back better...” But according to reports from the Centre for Global Development, a Washington think-tank, and the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, many aid pledges were unfulfilled. And in practice, most of the money that was disbursed went to a handful of international bodies, which mainly spent it on temporary relief (tents, shelters, water-tankers and so on) and the salaries of expat staff. Grand schemes to remake Haiti came almost to nought, partly because they lacked local input: outsiders have finally come round to the view of many Haitians that what is most needed is speedy and cheap housing.


Let's look at what the Clinton-Bush fund says about its priorities *now,* after it's dispersed all the cash:

The previous story of Haiti has been one of aid, but the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund sought to change this story to one of rebuilding and thriving. The Fund’s smart investments helped put people back to work and created an environment for vibrant, sustainable economic growth. We focused on promoting job growth and economic opportunity primarily by

1. Supporting micro finance institutions;
2. Providing small & growing businesses with access to financing & business services;
3. Facilitating job training & workforce development; and
4. Responding to critical, unmet needs.


A bit of a change from what they said when they started the fund. Microfinance, business services, job training & 'critical unmet needs," however defined. There's no infrastructure, people don't have homes, but they're giving out microfinance *loans* so that people can -- what? Buy some cement to build their own house, then pay back this "charity"? WTF?

But let's look at some of the things they spent the $54 million on.

1. $47 million to help Haitians get *mortgages,* not programs to build *homes*.

New Program Launched to Make Home Mortgages Available to Haitians

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has announced the launch of a $47 million program to make home mortgages more widely available in Haiti.


2. A million for insurance products...kind of closing the barn door after the horse got out...

the Fund’s investment is supplying the Haitian insurance company with capital to expand its current insurance product offerings. AIC products range from commercial, auto, life, and health insurance to lower-cost insurance products, known as micro-insurance, targeted toward middle- and low-income clients. AIC will use its new capital to develop innovative insurance offerings for the working poor, a population that does not traditionally have affordable access to insurance in Haiti.

They don't have housing, they don't have water, they don't have toilets -- but Bush & Clinton think fucking *insurance* is a priority. Delusional.


3. Millions for microfinance & business 'advice' to small 'entrepreneurs" (I got tired of searching out the programs, what I list here is over $20 million worth)






4. $350K to upgrade a tourist hotel "owned and operated by Lamandou Waterview S.A., which is in turn owned by SIMACT Tourism Inc., a diaspora-led investment group." In Jacmel -- a tourist city which suffered less damage and death in the quake than Port au Prince, and most of it suffered by poor people living in substandard housing.

Cap lamandou hotel


4.a. $2 million to complete another luxury hotel:

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund announced today that it would invest $2 million to complete construction on a major hotel project in Haiti that was abruptly halted following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The 130-room Oasis Hotel was fully funded and construction was well underway prior to the quake. While the building itself remains structurally sound, work on the project ceased when several of the original Haitian shareholders perished while others suffered severe financial losses, making them unable to meet their investment commitments to the project.

“The Oasis Hotel symbolizes Haiti ‘building back better,’ and sends a message to the world that Haiti is open for business,” Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s Vice President of Programs and Investments, Paul Altidor said. “For Haiti’s recovery to be sustainable, it must attract investors, businesses and donors all of whom will need a business-class, seismically-safe hotel.” In addition to sleeping rooms, Oasis will have significant meeting space and other business amenities.

The Royal Oasis opened in 2012:



5. Cervical cancer screenings: Whatever you think about the benefits of cervical cancer screenings, I think we can agree that they're not highest priority in the aftermath of an earthquake when people lack housing, food, water and sanitation.

But they're great for pharmacorps who want to vaccinate women for cervical cancer with government and donor funds paying.

And there's a little graftiness for a corporation thrown in for good measure -- the clinic doing the screening has a "research partnership with QIAGEN". Hmm, research on poor, third-world subjects...It seems I've heard that tune before...



6. $500K for Cooking facilities for 'microentrepreneur" cooks at an industrial park:


7. A computer lab for the University of Haiti's School of Management, $300K:


8. Oh, wait -- here's the good stuff, in 2010 Bush-Clinton gave $1.5 million to combat the cholera epidemic the UN brought to the country.


What did they spend the money on? Health workers passing out rehydration salts, soap, stationery & educational pamphlets & "an education and awareness campaign".

Well, that's great -- but how about some fucking sewers, septic tanks, water treatment and plumbing? What good is an "awareness" campaign when there's no fucking clean water?
Partly because the UN is dumping its cholera-ridden sewage into open pits next to rivers?

Sorry, small donors: you thought you were helping ordinary Haitians, but you were helping the neoliberal juggernaut to extend its reach.

American Donors Gave $1.4-Billion to Haiti Aid


Haiti's entire GDP, the year before the earthquake, was only $8.3 billion.


So Americans alone donated what amounted to 17% of Haiti's GDP.

That should have funded a lot of rebuilding.

And it should have funded a lot of *jobs* for real Haitians, working to reconstruct their own country.

Instead of being siphoned off for 'advice' about business, 'job training' programs that result in no jobs (3/4 of Haitians are *still* unemployed), big NGO salaries, and graft to the connected.

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Reply The Clinton-Bush Fund has closed up shop in Haiti: Here are the fruits of neoliberal "charity" [View all]
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